Depression and Inflammation

This may come as a shock to many, but the brain gets triggered by inflammations. Brain inflammations are different than the entire body as our brains do not have any pain receptors (1) and hence the response system is very different for the brain as compared to the other body functions.

What are Inflammations?

The body’s primary source of defense is inflammations. They trigger a response system that can be called as the defense system which makes our body cells the intruder or an antibody (2). However, these inflammations are a huge problem if they do not dissipate in time.

When an antibody is killed off or abated, the inflammation is ought to reside. But when that does not happen, it is dangerous to the body as well, ironically damaging the body (3). This is called chronic inflammation or systemic inflammation.

Theory About Depression

It is believed that depression is caused by low levels of certain chemicals in the body that are called as feel good chemicals (4). These chemicals, usually dopamine, are usually a part of the anti-depressants which are prescribed to patients (5).

However, the drugs do not work all the time; the success rate is usually fifty percent. Thus, the medications work as a placebo and not as an effective mechanism (6). This occurrence has caused scientists to debate over an alternate cause of depression and the brain activity model.

Chronic inflammation inside the brain and its tissues is believed to cause depression in patients (7). This is because the inflammation inside the brain actually starts eating cells away and disrupting the normal brain functions. Also, inflammation itself triggers a chemical called cytokine which hinders the brain functions (8).

Brain Immune System

To understand how inflammation causes depression, one has to understand a few things about cytokine.

  • Our brains defense system exists, and the messengers are cytokines. These cells can either soothe inflammations or exacerbate it.
  • In 1980, it was established that because of cytokines inflammation actually starts damaging our brain cells (9).
  • Microglia cells are the main defense system of the brain, and they attack the excess debris and protect the brain (10).
  • If microglia is activated, it causes inflammation throughout its lifespan.
  • These microglia cells create a domino effect inside the brain and create inflammation (11).

Stress, heart disease, carbohydrate content, trauma and asthma-like disorders can be some of the factors of having a chronic brain inflammation. According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, author of Why Isn’t My Brain Working?, a barrier created by inflammation between the blood and brain is the biggest risk in such cases.

How to Avoid Brain Inflammation?

It is not completely avoidable in some cases, but prevention is better than cure. Some methods to help build your brain and not cause inflammation are simple and ordinary which can be followed by almost every person.

The biggest change for a person would be to alternate the unhealthy oils from consumption like soya, safflower, etc. (12), to consuming oils which contain Omega-3 fatty acids which are available in fish like sardines, mackerel, etc. A person can effectively alter their health simply by the intake of Omega-6 fatty acids in their diet (13).  Search Geniux wikipedia for more information.

Adopting for a healthy lifestyle is the key in making sure that the brain is immune against chronic brain inflammations.

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