Link Between Inflammation and Depression

Dec. 8, 2017; by Briana McDonald ( The concept that depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, OCD, schizophrenia, autism and this growing list of cognitive behavioral disorders is cause by an imbalance of chemicals (serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain is so deeply ingrained in our minds that it has seemed silly to question it. However, there is a growing number of research that points to inflammation being the culprit in these disorders, not some malfunction. The link between inflammation and depression should no longer be ignored, so let’s take a deeper look at some of the research and natural ways to heal.

Show Me The Money

First off, we all have to take a moment to let it deeply sink in that Big Pharma makes a killing off of keeping this idea alive. Antidepressant drugs based on this theory represent a $10 billion dollar market in the United States alone and according to the CDC, 11 percent of Americans over 12 years old take antidepressants. Doctors wrote 254 million prescriptions for antidepressants in 2010 alone! (1) I can only imagine how much it has increased by now.
What’s interesting is neuroscience research and reviews of clinical trials have questioned antidepressants effectiveness beyond the placebo effect. Imaging studies have revealed that those diagnosed with severe depression show the same changes in brain scans when they respond to a placebo as they do when they take an antidepressant. (2) Other studies show that as many as 2/3 of all prescriptions are given to patients who have never even met the criteria for severe depression. Which means scripts are being written to make money people, not to heal or treat.
Chemical Imbalance Theory De-Bunked 
This theory is flawed and here is why:
  • reducing levels of norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine does not produce depression in humans even though it appears to do so in animals
  • although some depressed patients have low levels of serotonin and norpinephrine, the majority do not and several studies indicate that only 25 percent of depressed patients have low levels of these neurotransmitters.
  • some depressed patients have abnormally high levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, and some patients with no history of depression have low levels of them. (3)
So it seems to make more sense that depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance but depression itself is a symptom mirroring an underlying issue.
Immune Cytokine Model of Depression
This theory tells us a whole new story of which depression is a “multifaced sign of chronic immune system activation” caused by chronic inflammation. (4)
 Chronic inflammatory response and an increase in oxidative stress is the culprit behind the symptom of depression. Research behind this theory shows us that:
  1. depression is often present in a cute, inflammatory illnesses (5)
  2. higher levels of inflammation increase the risk of developing depression (6)
  3. administering endotoxins that provoke inflammation to healthy people triggers classic depressive symptoms (7)
  4. 1/4 of people who take interferon, a medication used to treat Hep C that causes significant inflammation develop major depression (8)
  5. remission of clinical depression is often associated with a normalization of inflammatory markers. (9)
 How to Naturally Heal from Chronic Inflammation 
Sadly our modern diet and lifestyle is to blame for the chronic inflammation we experience. To naturally heal from chronic inflammation one must be committed to the following:
Change Your Diet – food can either increase or decrease your level of inflammation. If you want to feel better, eat better. You will have to dramatically increase the amount of anti-inflammatory foods in your diet and kick out the main inflammatory ones.
To reduce inflammation within your food choices here are some things you can do:
  • reduce omega-6 fats such as vegetable oil
  • take in an adequate amount of omega-3’s from sources like seaweed, hemp, and flaxseed
  • show your gut some love with fermented foods, fiber ,and probiotics
  • focus on healthy fats and proteins
  • limit your caffeine intake which can lead to dehydration which triggers inflammation
  • avoid any known foods that cause food sensitivity like gluten and dairy as they can also create inflammation in the gut


Begin Taking Adaptogens
Adaptogen refers to a plants ability to adopt to it’s environment to survive and adapt to exterior stress. (hello I think we all need more of these)
Adaptogenic herbs such as rhodiola, ashwaganda, ginseng, phosphytidly serine, and maca help to strengthen and stabilize the body thereby lessening the impact of stress. Adaptogens also improve the entire body’s resistance to stress (not just one organ or system) and create balance and harmony in the body helping to reduce chronic inflammation.
Magnesium for Inflammation (Vitamin C is also a great anti-inflammatory)
Magnesium is one of the most amazing minerals on the planet and if anyone is feeling crummy it’s the first thing I recommend, especially since the majority of us are severely deficient in this key nutrient. Magnesium is incredibly nourishing to the nervous system and every cell, every tissue, every organ in your body requires magnesium to relax.
“With magnesium being actively required by 600–700 enzyme systems in the human body, internal functions that reduce inflammation with the help of magnesium are being newly discovered every year. For example, magnesium has been found to be a natural calcium channel blocker, which is crucial because calcium in excess is one of the most pro-inflammatory substances in the body. This is why I recommend a 1:1 balance of calcium with magnesium, while also taking into account the amount of calcium people get in their daily diets.”  (10)
Do yourself a favor and soak in some Epsom Salt at least 2 or 3 times a week and begin taking a bioavaiable form of magnesium every day to reap its benefits. Also, it’s important to incorporate more dark leafy greens in the diet which is loaded with magnesium. 
Make Sleep a Priority 
A study from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta found that short sleep durations and poor sleep quality are associated with higher levels of inflammation markers. Individuals who reported six or fewer hours of sleep had the highest levels of inflammatory hormones and changes in blood vessel function.
Detox With Bentonite Clay
Bentonite Clay when added to water produces a negative electrical charge which attracts heavy metals (that have positive charges) and other toxins, binds with them, and then your body expels it all. Most Americans are ridden with more harmful toxins than we make think thanks to aluminum being in just about everything, formaldehyde and other dangerous neurotoxins found in vaccines, dental amalgams, and not to mention chlorine and fluoride in the water supply. In my opinion, everyone is a little crazy since everyone is suffering from low grade or chronic inflammation in the body.
Taking Bentonite Clay internally is the best way to reap its healing benefits. Soak the clay in water for it to gain its electrical charge that makes it such an effective toxin remover. Avoid storing the clay in a metal container or using a metal spoon as that can remove it’s ability to produce a charge. A few times a week add about 1 tsp of bentonite clay to a small glass of water in the evening and the next morning drink the mixture. Do not eat or take supplements or medications for an hour after drinking your concoction as it will make them less effective. Use this amazing healing tool for at least 3 months and see how much better you feel!
The link between inflammation and depression and other cognitive mood disorders can no longer be ignored and it’s time we all start becoming our own doctors instead of putting our health in the hands of money hungry caregivers who really don’t give two — well you know where I’m going with this.

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