Depression’s Link to Inflammation Gains Strength

Depression is increasingly recognized as a problem rooted in chronic inflammation. While other factors may also be involved, inflammation can have a profound impact on your mental health.

The study of these connections is known as psychoneuroimmunology, i.e., the impact of inflammation on behavior. As noted in one 2012 study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology:1

“Elevated biomarkers of inflammation, including inflammatory cytokines and acute-phase proteins, have been found in depressed patients, and administration of inflammatory stimuli has been associated with the development of depressive symptoms.

Data also have demonstrated that inflammatory cytokines can interact with multiple pathways known to be involved in the development of depression, including monoamine metabolism, neuroendocrine function, synaptic plasticity, and neurocircuits relevant to mood regulation …

Psychosocial stress, diet, obesity, a leaky gut and an imbalance between regulatory and pro-inflammatory T cells also contribute to inflammation and may serve as a focus for preventative strategies relevant to both the development of depression and its recurrence.”

Inflammation and Depression

In this model, depression is the result of your body’s attempts to protect itself from an inflammatory response, and involves hormones and neurotransmitters. Depressive symptoms most strongly associated with chronic inflammation include flat mood, slowed thinking, avoidance, alterations in perception and metabolic changes.2

Cytokines in your blood, or inflammatory messengers such as CRP, interleukin-1 (IL-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and TNF-alpha are all predictive of3 and correlate4 to depression.

For example, in melancholic depression, bipolar disorder and postpartum depression, white blood cells called monocytes express pro-inflammatory genes that provoke secretion of cytokines.5 At the same time, cortisol sensitivity goes down, and cortisol is a stress hormone that buffers against inflammation.

Together, these inflammatory agents transfer information to your nervous system, typically by stimulating your vagus nerve, which connects your gut and brain.6

During inflammatory states, brain cells called microglia are activated. When this happens, an enzyme called indoleamine 2 3-dioxygenase (IDO) directs tryptophan away from the production of serotonin and melatonin, instructing it instead to produce an NMDA (an amino acid derivative) agonist called quinolinic acid, which can trigger anxiety and agitation.7

Errant Immune System May Alter Your Mood

Recent research again highlights the inflammatory underpinnings of depression. As reported by BBC:8

“The focus is on an errant immune system causing inflammation in the body and altering mood … [Professor Ed Bullmore, Ph.D., head of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge and an employee of GlaxoSmithKline] said: ‘Depression and inflammation often go hand in hand …

[I]f you have flu, the immune system reacts to that, you become inflamed and very often people find that their mood changes too. Their [behavior] changes, they may become less sociable, more sleepy [and] more withdrawn.

They may begin to have some of the negative ways of thinking that are characteristic of depression and all of that follows an infection’ …

Inflammation is part of the immune system’s response to danger … If it is too high, it causes damage. And for some reason, about one-third of depressed patients have consistently high levels of inflammation.”

When patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis were treated with anti-inflammatory drugs targeting specific parts of the immune system, they also reported an improvement in mood. This was what raised the curiosity of professor Iain McInnes, a consultant rheumatologist. He told the BBC:

“When we give these therapies we see a fairly rapid increase in a sense of well-being, mood state improving quite remarkably often disproportionately given the amount of inflammation we can see in their joints and their skin.”

Anti-Inflammatories Boost Mood

McInnes’ team performed brain scans on patients with rheumatoid arthritis, before and after giving them an immune targeted drug. The brain scans seemed to confirm and validate the patients’ feedback.

After taking an anti-inflammatory drug, there were significant changes in their brains’ neuro-chemical circuitry. Importantly, pathways known to be involved in alleviating depression were favorably altered.

Interestingly, work by Carmine Pariante, a professor of biological psychiatry, shows that people who have overactive immune systems are less likely to respond to anti-depressants.

He also found that emotional trauma may alter your immune system and “prime” it in such a way that it predisposes you to depression. BBC quotes Pariante, saying:

“We think the immune system is the key mechanism by which early life events produce this long-term effect.

We have some data showing adult individuals who have a history of early life trauma, even if they have never been depressed, have an activated immune system so they are in a state of risk.”

Arthritis Drug Being Tested on Depressed Patients

The arthritis drug sirukumab is currently being tested on depressed patients. GlaxoSmithKline and others are also working on developing anti-inflammatory drugs targeting depression.

The problem with this approach is that you’d simply be switching from one form of drug to another, and virtually all drugs have side effects. Sometimes terminal, as the 60,000 who died from the anti-inflammatory Vioxx.

Fortunately, you don’t need drugs to combat inflammation. One of the most effective ways to quell inflammation is to eat a ketogenic diet, high in healthy fats and low in net carbs (total carbs minus fiber).

In fact, one of the most remarkable effects of nutritional ketosis is that your C-reactive protein (CRP) level (an inflammatory marker) virtually disappears. It can really drive your inflammation levels about as low as they can go.

Snacking on Nuts Decreases Inflammation

Raw nuts are a great source of healthy fat, and eating 1 ounce (about a handful) of nuts five times per week can reduce inflammation according to recent research.9,10,11 As reported by Reuters:12

“Past research has linked eating nuts to lower rates of heart disease and diabetes, but the exact reason was unknown, senior study author Dr. Ying Bao, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, told Reuters Health. ‘We hypothesized that nuts may exert these health benefits by reducing inflammation,’ Bao said …”

By looking at data from two long-term studies — the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) — in which participants documented what they ate and provided blood samples that were analyzed for inflammatory biomarkers, the researchers found that people who ate nuts at least five times a week had 20 percent lower CRP levels and 16 percent lower IL-6 than those who rarely or never ate nuts.

This remained true even when other anti-inflammatory dietary and lifestyle strategies such as exercise, body weight and smoking were taken into account. I use macadamia nuts and pecans nearly every day as part of my diet plan, about 2 ounces of each, as they really help safely keep my calorie level high.

Other Health Benefits Linked to Regular Nut Consumption

Other research has linked regular nut consumption to:

  • Weight loss13
  • Lower systolic blood pressure
  • Fewer risk factors for metabolic syndrome14 and a lower risk for diabetes
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Reduced mortality risk and increased longevity. In one study, people who ate a small handful (1 ounce or 28 grams) of nuts seven times per week or more were 20 percent less likely to die for any reason, compared to those who avoided nuts. Eating nuts at least 5 times per week was associated with a 29 percent drop in mortality risk from heart disease and an 11 percent drop in mortality risk from cancer specifically15,16,17,18

Anti-inflammatory ingredients in nuts include fiber, magnesium, antioxidants, the amino acid L-arginine and unsaturated fatty acids such as α-linolenic acid. Organic, raw and unpeeled nuts are best, as processing can destroy many nutrients, and most of the antioxidants are actually in the skin. When roasted and/or peeled, those valuable antioxidants are lost.

Top Picks: Macadamias and Pecans

Most nuts’ nutritional makeup closely resembles what I consider to be an ideal ratio of the basic building blocks, with fat making up the greatest amount of your daily calories, followed by a moderate amount of high-quality protein and a low amount of non-vegetable carbs (see my Food Pyramid for Optimal Health). That said, some nuts have more ideal ratios than others.

My favorite nuts, macadamia and pecans,  provide the highest amount of healthy fat while being on the lower end in terms of carbs and protein. Raw macadamia nuts also contain high amounts of vitamin B1, magnesium and manganese. Moreover, about 60 percent of the fatty acid in macadamia is the monounsaturated fat oleic acid. This is about the level found in olives, which are well known for their health benefits. This little tidbit is a fact few people make note of when discussing the benefits of macadamias.

Pecans also boast more than 19 different vitamins and minerals that studies suggest can help you lower LDL cholesterol and promote healthy arteries, and are in the top 15 foods known for their antioxidant activity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

One of those antioxidants is vitamin E, which may convey neurological protection and keeps blood lipids from oxidizing in your body. Beta-carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin in pecans also help rid your body of harmful free radicals, protecting it from inflammation. One ounce of macadamia nuts has only 4 grams of carbs, but over half of those are non-digestible fiber so it provides an ultra-low 2 grams of sugar per ounce of nuts.

The Importance of Animal-Based Omega-3 DHA

Animal-based omega-319 is a potent, all-natural anti-inflammatory. While many nuts contain plant-based omega-3 (with the exception of pecans, which are very low in omega-3 and omega-6), your body cannot efficiently convert the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in plants to the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in marine animals such as fatty fish and krill. DHA is particularly important for brain health, as more than 90 percent of the omega-3 fat found in your brain tissue is DHA.20

Furthermore, the marine-based DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are actually structural elements needed by every cell in your body; part of their biological effects include anti-inflammatory activity and communication within the cell and between cells. With this in mind, it’s important to avoid making the mistake of thinking you can get all the omega-3 you need from plant sources.

You simply cannot afford to get this wrong, especially if you’re struggling with depression or other inflammation-based conditions. To learn more about the differences between plant- and animal-based omega-3 fats, please see my previous article, “How Good Fats Prevent Heart Disease.” Good sources of animal-based DHA and EPA include fatty, cold-water fish like wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, fish roe and krill oil.

Vitamin D — Another Important Anti-Inflammatory

Vitamin D, which is best obtained from regular, sensible sun exposure, also inhibits inflammation. It produces over 200 anti-microbial peptides and up-regulates a large number of genes, including one that boosts your ability to fight infections and chronic inflammation. In one placebo-controlled study, high-dose vitamin D supplementation boosted anti-inflammatory molecules, showing promise as an anti-inflammatory “medicine” for people with heart failure.21

Daily supplementation with 50 micrograms (mcg) — equivalent to 2,000 International Units (IUs) — of vitamin D for nine months increased blood concentrations of anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 (IL-10) by 43 percent, while simultaneously preventing an increase in the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha in patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF).

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression specifically. In one previous study, seniors with the lowest levels of vitamin D were found to be 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels.

In addition to its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, vitamin D receptors appear in a wide variety of brain tissue, and researchers believe optimal vitamin D levels may enhance important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of glial cells that help nurse damaged neurons back to health.

To learn more about how to optimize your vitamin D level through sensible sun exposure, please see my interview with Dr. Michael F. Holick, who is a well-recognized expert on vitamin D. A vitamin D3 supplement can also be used, but you’ll need to monitor your levels regularly. To reap maximum benefit, you need a vitamin D level of at least 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).

Optimal Sun Exposure

Please remember that there are inherent dangers in using vitamin D3 as an oral supplement. It is a hormone, not a vitamin, and has profoundly important physiologic actions. Ultimately, we were designed to get nearly all of our vitamin D from appropriate solar exposure and, as such, vitamin D is a marker for UV light exposure, which also has a wide ranging host of metabolic benefits.

If you give your body a false signal with oral vitamin D, there is potential that you will disrupt some important physiological cycles. I personally have not swallowed vitamin D in seven years, but moved to Florida to get high-quality sun exposure.

Also, UVB is not the only wavelength in sunlight. You really need all the frequencies to effectively treat depression. For example, daily exposure to sunlight outdoors without glasses or contacts (ideally grounded to the earth) for several minutes within an hour of sunrise is a powerful stimulus to normalize your circadian rhythm. Avoiding all blue light from artificial sources is another factor.  When these are done you typically sleep better, which is a profoundly important factor for depression.

Regain Your Mental Health by Quelling Inflammation

If you suffer from depression, it may be well worth your effort to take steps to reduce the level of inflammation in your body. No drugs are necessary for this. In fact, your best strategy is to address your diet, and make sure to get enough animal-based omega-3 and vitamin D.

Raw organic nuts are a great source of healthy fats, but I wouldn’t recommend hitching your hopes on nuts alone. You also need to ditch the processed foods (which are chockfull of inflammatory ingredients) and switch to real foods, as that’s where you’ll find important antioxidants and nutrients that help combat inflammation. I would strongly encourage you to consider a ketogenic diet — the anti-inflammatory capacity of which is truly profound.

Also be sure to address your gut health, as impaired gut flora is also frequently involved in depression. One of the easiest ways to help reseed your gut with beneficial bacteria is to eat traditionally fermented and cultured foods such as kefir, natto, kimchi and fermented vegetables, most of which are also easy and inexpensive to make from scratch at home.


Fasting?

Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation

Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.

In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!

Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!

==> Naturally Fight & Reverse Damaging Inflammatory Effects in Your Body!


Best stretch before bed (1 minute)

Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…

What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...

=> Best stretch before bed (takes 1-min)

Enjoy!

Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody


Stop Snoring in 3 Minutes - Starting Tonight

...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!

Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?

Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!

...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.

Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.

Use them anytimeanywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.

Plus the results are permanent!

To learn more and test-drive the easy snoring and sleep apnea exercises for yourself, click here...

To a good night's sleep,
Rick + Lisa
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody


The #1 "bodyfat-eating" hormone...

weight loss solved

Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?

True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.

However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...

It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:

==> How to Activate Your #1 "Bodyfat-Eating" Hormone...

To your health!

PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...


#1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.

Is it…

a) Abs

b) Chest

c) Glutes

d) Hip Flexors

Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!


How to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation (Free Book)

inflammation

In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.

See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.

Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.

inflammation book

Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!

Get the Free Inflammation Book

--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)


Free Paleo / Keto Cookbook

Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold ­­ a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...

And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!

paleohack chart

The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef ­created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes ­­ which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.

Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)

>> Get The Free Cookbook

Enjoy!


Sponsored Health Resources

In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.

NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!


1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…

--> "Red" Smoothie Helps Alabama Girl Shed 80lbs!


2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.

--> Get the 1 Day Cleanse (better than 7-day detoxes!)


3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

--> #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat


4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!

--> Your Birth Date + Name - Free Report


5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!

--> The best way to get maximum effects of Turmeric


6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.

--> Why Some People LOOK Fat that Aren't


7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.

-->  Unlock Your Hip Flexors


Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.

Rick D.
wisemindhealthybody.com