Do you struggle to become enthusiastic or motivated?
Does your brain feel ‘foggy’, or do you have trouble concentrating?
Do you feel downhearted and blue a lot of the time?
Do you tend to emotionally overreact to situations?
Do you struggle to work up the physical or mental energy to get things done?
Do you feel there is not a lot in the future to look forward to?
Do you feel worn out, used up or drained or energy?
Do you suffer from muscle tension, headaches or migraines that come on from stress, or since a head injury?
The prevalence of psychiatric disorders is steadily increasing, with depression currently the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide and is expected to become the second most prevalent disease, after coronary heart disease by 2020.
Theories have evolved beyond the “serotonin hypothesis” regarding the causes of low mood and depression (Cowen & Browning 2015), with chronic inflammation now increasingly recognised as a risk factor and a key aspect in the pathophysiology of the mental health disorders. A substantial proportion of people with depression, exhibit elevated concentrations of circulating inflammatory markers such as pro-inflammatory cytokines, thus reinforcing this current theory.
Neuro-Inflammation and Depression
A 2015 review of 200 existing papers on depression and inflammation, in the American Journal of Psychiatry, supports the concept that chronic inflammation fuels depression. The authors noted that inflammation was not only linked to physical health issues, such as diabetes and cancer, but systemic inflammation is also linked to mental health issues such as depression. They observed that among the patients suffering from depression, concentrations of two inflammatory markers (CRP and IL-6) were elevated by up to 50 percent. The study also found that depression caused by chronic inflammation is resistant to traditional therapy methods (Kiecolt-Glaser, 2015), as the heterogeneity of depressive illnesses creates issues with current medications, as the therapeutic actions of these drugs are based upon monoamine neurotransmitter (e.g. serotonin, dopamine) modulation, rather than targeting the underlying neurobiological pathophysiology. (Ross et al. 2017)
Cowen PJ, Browning M. (2015)What has serotonin to do withdepression? World Psychiatry 14(2):158-160.
Ross, R.A., Foster, S.L. & Ionescu, D.F. (2017) The role of chronic stress in Anxious Depression: Chronic Stress, Volume 1, SAGE Publications Inc
Always consult your health care professional regarding your supplements or medication regime.