Did You Know…depression may be an allergic reaction?
Revolutionary new research suggests that depression may actually be caused by an allergic reaction. Specifically, the symptoms associated with depression may be caused by allergic inflammation. In short, it may all be in your body, not your mind, after all.
The underlying theory is simple. When we’re ill, our bodies respond in ways that include…
- Lack of interest
- Difficulty sleeping/excessive sleep
The sum total of these responses is known among psychologists as “sickness behavior.” This sickness behavior is our bodies’ way of forcing us to slow down so that our systems can properly eradicate the invading virus or infection.
The Symptoms of “Sickness Behavior”
As you may have noticed, the symptoms of sickness behavior overlap with those of depression. Scientists think that’s no coincidence, especially since high concentrations of inflammatory proteins called cytokines appear in the bodies of individuals fighting off infections as well as in the bodies of individuals struggling with depression.
Studies show us that cytokines skyrocket during times of illness, as well as during depressive episodes. When individuals with bipolar disorder enter remission, cytokine levels plummet. Even otherwise neurotypical people can experience temporary anxiety or depression after receiving inflammatory vaccines (like typhoid).
re-categorized as an infectious disease.
Fanning the Fires of Inflammation
Inflammation comes from a Latin word that means: “to set on fire.” It ensues in response to injuries… infections… and the intrusion of foreign compounds. The inflammatory response involves cells and proteins—including cytokines—flooding the bloodstream.
A variety of factors can cause inflammation, such as:
High sugar diets
Excessive intake of trans fats
Generally unhealthy diets
By focusing on the inflammatory symptoms of depression, and not the neurological ones, researchers and doctors have opened a remarkable new means of treating depression.
Clinical trials indicate adding anti-inflammatory measures to other depression treatment methods can not only improve symptoms, but also increase the percentage of people who respond positively to the treatments. More trials are needed to confirm these findings, but preliminary testing indicates both omega-3 acids and curcumin are excellent candidates for this kind of treatment.
5 Tips to Quell Inflammation
While scientists sort out which compounds can most effectively treat depression, there are a number of measures you can take now to help your body beat inflammation.
Taste the rainbow: Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables in all the colors from green, leafy vegetables to brightly colored fruits and berries. These antioxidant-rich foods will stop inflammation before it starts.
Drink coffee: Despite what you may have heard, consuming coffee (as long as you don’t drink too much) brings a plentitude of health benefits, chief among them, decreasing inflammation. Caffeinated teas—green, white, and blackare excellent, too.
Plant some seeds: In your stomach, that is! Pumpkin, flax, and sunflower are all high in inflammation-busting vitamin E.
Oil yourself up: Olive oil, bran oil, and walnut oil all contain monosaturated fats, which lower inflammation levels.
Last but not least, drink lots and lots of water! Hydration will help flush harmful free radicals from your system.
Whether or not you suffer from depression, these tips will help you keep your body functioning at an optimum level. That’s something we can all smile about.