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Is Depression a Disease or a Symptom of Inflammation?


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The idea that depression and other mental health conditions are caused by an imbalance of chemicals (particularly serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain is so deeply ingrained in our collective psyche that it seems almost sacrilegious to question it. 

A depressed person
Depression and inflammation are linked. Find out how. iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

Of course, Big Pharma has played a role in perpetuating this idea. Antidepressant drugs, which are based on the chemical imbalance theory, represent a $10 billion dollar market in the U.S. alone. According to the CDC, 11 percent of Americans over 12 years old take antidepressants, and they are the second-most prescribed medications (after cholesterol-lowering drugs). Doctors wrote a staggering 254 million prescriptions for antidepressants in 2010. (1)

Research suggests that depression may be primarily caused by inflammation. Check out this article to find out more about the depression–inflammation connection. #MentalHealth

Yet as popular as this theory has become, it is riddled with problems. For example: 

  • 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 norepinephrine, the majority do not. 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. (2)

What if depression isn’t caused by a “chemical imbalance” after all? More specifically, what if depression itself is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying problem? 

That is exactly what the most recent research on depression is telling us. A new theory called the “Immune Cytokine Model of Depression” holds that depression is not a disease itself, but instead a “multifaceted sign of chronic immune system activation.” (3)

To put it plainly: depression may be a symptom of chronic inflammation.

The Connection between Depression and Inflammation

A large body of research now suggests that depression is associated with a low-grade, chronic inflammatory response and is accompanied by increased oxidative stress. 

In an excellent review paper by Berk et al, the authors presented several lines of evidence supporting the connection between depression and inflammation: (4)

  • Depression is often present in acute, inflammatory illnesses. (5)
  • Higher levels of inflammation increase the risk of developing depression. (6)
  • Administering endotoxins that provoke inflammation to healthy people triggers classic depressive symptoms. (7)
  • One-quarter of patients who take interferon, a medication used to treat hepatitis C that causes significant inflammation, develop major depression. (8)
  • Remission of clinical depression is often associated with a normalization of inflammatory markers. (9)

During an inflammatory reaction, chemicals called “cytokines” are produced. These include tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α, interleukin (IL)-1, interferon (IFN)ɣ, and interleukin (IL)-10, among others. Researchers discovered in the early 1980s that inflammatory cytokines produce a wide variety of psychiatric and neurological symptoms which perfectly mirror the defining characteristics of depression. (10)

Interestingly enough, antidepressants (particularly SSRIs) have been shown to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α, IL-1, interferon IFN-ɣ and increase the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines like IL-10. (11, 12) They also change the gene expression of some immune cells that are involved in inflammatory processes. This suggests that SSRIs are anti-inflammatory, which would explain their mechanism of action if inflammation is a primary driver of depression.

The research on this topic is robust, and the connection between depression and inflammation is now well-established. But if depression is primarily caused by inflammation, the obvious question that arises is, “What is causing the inflammation?”

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Nine Common Causes of Inflammation and Depression

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that inflammation is at the root of nearly all modern disease, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, allergies, asthma, and arthritis. So perhaps it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that depression is also caused by inflammation

The downside of this connection is that our modern diet and lifestyle are full of factors that provoke inflammation—and thus cause disease. The upside is that if we address these factors and reduce inflammation, we can prevent and even reverse the chronic, inflammatory diseases that have become such a fixture of industrial civilization.

According to the authors of the Berk et al review paper I referenced above, the following are the most common causes of inflammation that are associated with depression. 

1. Diet

There are several problems with the modern diet. It is high in foods that provoke inflammation, such as refined flour, excess sugar, oxidized (rancid) fats, trans fats, and a wide range of chemicals and preservatives. And it is low in foods that reduce inflammation, like long-chain omega-3 fats, fermented foods, and fermentable fiber. Numerous studies have associated the Western diet with major depressive disorder. (13)

2. Obesity

One of the most harmful consequences of the modern diet has been the dramatic increase in obesity. Obesity is an inflammatory state. Studies have shown higher levels of inflammatory cytokines in obese people, and weight loss is associated with a decrease in those cytokines. (14) Obesity is closely linked with depression, and while that relationship is likely multi-factorial and complex, inflammation appears to play a significant role. (15)

3. Gut Health

Disruptions in the gut microbiome and leaky gut (i.e. intestinal permeability) have both been shown to contribute to inflammation and correlate with depression. For example, a leaky gut permits endotoxins called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to escape the gut and enter the bloodstream, where they provoke the release of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-1 and COX-2. (16) And numerous studies have linked unfavorable changes to the bacteria inhabiting our gut with major depressive disorder. (17

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4. Stress

Stress may be one of the most obvious causes of depression, but the link between stress and inflammation is less well-known. Research has shown that psychosocial stress stimulates the pro-inflammatory cytokine network, including increases in TNF-α and IL-1. (18) These increases in inflammatory cytokines are in turn closely related to depressive symptoms, as described above. 

5. Lack of Physical Activity

There’s a huge amount of evidence indicating that exercise is an effective treatment for depression—in many cases as effective or more so than antidepressant drugs. It has also been shown to prevent depression in healthy people with no pre-existing symptoms. (19) Interestingly enough, while exercise initially produces the same inflammatory cytokines that are associated with depression, that is quickly followed by induction of anti-inflammatory substances. (20) This is known as a hormetic effect, where an initial stressor provokes a compensatory response in the body that has positive, long-term consequences. 

6. Sleep Deprivation

Chronic sleep loss has been shown to increase inflammatory markers even in people that are otherwise healthy. (21) And although temporary sleep deprivation has been used to therapeutically improve depression, chronic sleep loss is a well-known contributing factor to developing depression in the first place. (22

7. Chronic Infection

Chronic infections produce ongoing inflammation, so it’s no surprise to see that depression is associated with Toxoplasma gondii, West Nile virus, Clostridium difficile, and other pathogens. (23, 24, 25

8. Dental Caries and Periodontal Disease

Dental caries and periodontal disease are another source of chronic inflammation, and thus a potential cause of depression. According to one large study of over 80,000 adults, researchers found that people with depression were more likely to have tooth loss even after controlling for several demographic and health factors. (26

9. Vitamin D Deficiency

Low levels of vitamin D are common in Western populations, and there is growing evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to depression. Vitamin D modulates immune responses to infection, including reducing inflammatory markers like TNF-α and IL-1 that are associated with depression. (27) Supplementation with vitamin D to normalize serum 25D levels has been shown to to reduce inflammatory markers in some, but not all cases. (28)

The Biggest Problem with the Chemical Imbalance Theory

The early 1980s discovery that inflammatory cytokines produce all of the characteristic signs and symptoms of depression should have made a big splash. For the first time ever, scientists had discovered a class of molecules that were tightly and consistently associated with depression, and, when administered to healthy volunteers, produced all of the symptoms necessary for the diagnosis of depression. 

Unfortunately, the “chemical imbalance” theory continues to be the dominant paradigm for understanding depression nearly 30 years after this profound discovery, despite the weak correlation between serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine and depressive symptoms. There are probably several reasons for this—and you’d be correct if you guessed that some of them are financial—but I’ll leave that discussion for another time.

The significance of this finding is huge—both for patients and clinicians. It shifts our focus from viewing depression as being a disease caused by a chemical imbalance, which often requires medication to correct, to being a symptom of a deeper, underlying problem. It also leads to entirely new avenues of treatment—many of them more effective and safer than antidepressant drugs.

Understanding the physical roots of depression can have a profound effect on people who are suffering from it. Although the stigma surrounding depression has decreased in recent years, many who are depressed still carry the burden of thinking that there’s something wrong with them, and the depression they experience is “their fault.” When my patients with depression learn that theres an underlying physiological cause of their symptoms, they often feel a tremendous sense of relief and empowerment. Whats more, when we address this underlying cause, their mood improves dramatically and they quickly realize that the self-judgment and shame they felt about being depressed was misplaced and unwarranted.  

I don’t mean to suggest that emotional and psychological factors don’t play an important role in depression. In many cases they do, and I’ve written on that topic before. However, the assumption in mainstream medicine that depression is exclusively caused by those factors is obviously not true, and too often these other potential underlying causes go unexplored. The doctor prescribes an antidepressant, the patient takes it, and thats the end of the discussion.

What to Do If You’re Suffering from Depression

With this in mind, what can you do if you’re suffering from depression? Follow these two steps:

1. Adopt an Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle

This means eating a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet, getting enough sleep, managing stress, engaging in appropriate (not too little or too much) physical activity, and nourishing your gut. For more on how to do this, see my book, The Paleo Cure.

2. Investigate Other Underlying Causes of Inflammation

On your own or with the help of a good Functional Medicine practitioner, explore other possible causes of inflammation that could be contributing to depression. These include gut issues (SIBO, leaky gut, dysbiosis, infections, etc.), chronic infections (viral, bacterial, fungal), low vitamin D levels, dental caries and periodontal disease, exposure to heavy metals and mold or other biotoxins, obstructive sleep apnea, and more.

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Join the conversation

  1. Thank you for this enlightening article! I was diagnosed with bipoloar disorder 20 years ago and hospitalised 5 times during this period, vowing every time that this would never happen again. Recently, I have started looking at techniques such as mindfulness and visualization, as well as a whole foods diet to support my continued well-being and to try ways other than medication (which I still do of course take, although in reduced form – Lithium is essential, at least for the time being.. and I am working closely with my psychiatrist on types of medication and dosage needed) and what you say in this article is a real eye-opener for me. Having read a lot of books on mental health and related topics, I have yet never come across the link with inflammation. I will pursue this avenue further and already feel like there could be much good coming from it. My nutritionist recommended your site, so thank you both for this information and your dedication to this approach to healing! Natalie

    • Hey Natalie, you might want to take a look at the thyroid secret as well…in episode 2 they discuss the link between brain disorders (bipolar included) and thyroid disease. Just Google the thyroid secret and go from there, it’s been very enlightening for me so hopefully for you as well?

  2. I have celiacs, hashimotos, mthfr, mao gene, IBS and multiple chemical sensitivities. I know also my anxiety, depression, and paranoia were due to inflammation. I currently can not eat eggs, gluten, dairy, lugumes or soy. I am doing yoga outside. I take supplements and magnesium. I am currently trying L glutamine but so far it is had to sleep and I have nightmares. Maybe I am taking to much. It really makes me feel weird ? I guess I will back off. It made my joints and fatigue feel better. My joints pain, fibromyalgia and celiac rash only come back when I have cross contamination. Sometimes bad gut problems. I usually take activated charcoal and it helps.

    • Have you looked into the possibility that you have Mold illness? Candida or a bacterial overgrowth as well?
      Something to consider…
      Lyme can also affect you as well.
      Hopefully, you can find an Integrative/Functional Medicine MD. to help on your journey to correcting your health.
      Have you had a breath hydrogen test to determine you have a bacterial overgrowth in the gut by a Gastroenterologist?
      Eating a nutrient dense diet is helpful. Also, taking some glutathione will help with detoxification. I apply glutathione cream to my skin each day that helps. Its a special prescription done by a compounding pharmacy. You could be very toxic and your system has an imbalance. Not sure if eating bone broth could help to heal your gut…I would talk to the experts.

    • i would look at the autoimmune protocol as presented by sarah ballantyne to rebuild your immune system. i have similar intolerances/allergies. the only cavest i would add is to slowly increase the more fibrous allowed starches so as to not overwhelm a healing gut.

  3. Many forms of depression are triggered by the air we breath and low exposure to sunlight in the winter months.
    Our modern living patterns have drastically changed our responses to nature’s cues. Many of us are spending our working day in air-conditioned offices lit by banks of electrical lighting tubes.
    Our circadian clock is regulated by light. It is constantly setting and resetting our hormonal requirements depending on the season of the year. An imbalance of hormones can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. A common cause of depression. SAD light therapy can often help this type of depression.
    Lack of negative ions in the air we breath can also cause mild depression. Our modern lifestyle effectively strips the desirable negative ions out of the air and replaces them with positive ion molecules. Result tiredness and depression. Negative ion generators are available for home use to purify and revitalise the air we breath.
    Hope this helps someone too.

  4. Interessting. But how come depressed people sith low serotonin often feels so much better taking 5 htp? And people woth dopamine-deficiency caused depression, are so easily addicted? The neurotransmitters must play some key roles in depression as well? But maybe inflammation is the root cause of the imbalance in neurotransmitters to begin with.

    Maybe it doesnt have to do with the acual levels of neurotransmitters, but being less sensitive to the levels we have..?

  5. I have celiac but this post is not about me. When I was diagnosed and learned about the symptoms that gluten causes, I recognized so many of those symptoms in my husband. He suffered from anxiety and depression his entire life, even through childhood. He used to lie on the floor in agony after eating carb-heavy meals like cereal and bagels. So many other little things. He gave up gluten with me (this was several years ago) and overall he has done so much better. By the way, he was tested for celiac and was negative.

    His GI issues are gone. His mental health is better on most days, but here is the problem. He has severe reactions as often as once a week where he gets extremely anxious and severely depressed. These reactions are much stronger than they used to be when they were low-level constantly with him, but they also pass within hours, although usually he will remain in a moderate state of anxiety and depression for a few days before he feels better. Sometimes he will have other mild inflammatory markers with these episodes, such as sore gums and mild GI distress, but not always. Afterwards he will feel fine for a stretch of time, until the next time this happens.

    Needless to say the stress and anxiety is overwhelming both of us. We can’t figure out if he’s reacting to gluten or some other food intolerance, or if something else non-food related might be going on. The house is completely gluten and soy free, and we eat a processed-free diet of fresh organic fruits, vegetables, and wild/pasture-raised meat and eggs. We don’t eat out at restaurants, although he, not very often, goes out with friends or for work and his luck there runs about 50/50, careful as he tries to be notifying servers of allergies. I’m a great gluten litmus since I’m very sensitive, but he eats a few products that I don’t, such as yogurt (plain Stoneyfield), coffee (he grinds it himself), peanut butter (Teddies – gluten free) and Lundberg rice. We haven’t a noticed a pattern directly related to these products but he eats them pretty much every day so who knows?

    He’s allergic to potatoes and soy (no known contact with either) and lately we’ve been suspecting a corn intolerance, so he’s even on baking soda for toothpaste until we suss this out. We’re not sure what else we can do. He only takes one supplement. It’s for vit D since he was severely deficient and it’s free of everything – his levels are great now. Coffee is a life-line for him – I hate to see him on wild goose chases and giving things up to no effect, but would that be the next most reasonable thing to try? He’s gone stretches of time without all the other products I mentioned above, but coffee would be very, very difficult for him to eliminate.

    Are we barking up the wrong tree by continuing to pursue potentially unnecessary food restrictions? We don’t know what medical specialist he can go to – his PCP just wants to send him to a mental care professional. He’s had basic vit/thyroid/cortisol tests and all were normal. As a final option, he’s considering going on anti-depressants, but we’re trying our hardest to find the root cause of the problem before going that route. Does the extreme on/off nature of his symptoms even make sense if it’s not being caused by sudden allergic reactions? It just screams REACTION, and is so consistent with when he really does get glutened.


    • You can get a panel from a brilliant company called Cyrex labs that looks at gluten cross reactive foods. When one has a gluten intolerance, there are several other foods that the body can perceive in the same way as gluten due to their molecular structure, thus the reaction will be the same. The good news is that after identifying them, and taking them out for a period, then the body heals from those ‘cross reactive’ reactions and you can re introduce them one by one. But not gluten obviously. A Dunwoody food panel may also be of help as it shows foods that the body has developed immune complexes around. These tests should calm the symptoms down well as diet will be anti-inflammatory again. Then you can look at root causes and healing those. Whether they be infection, stress, toxic burden etc. I hope this helps!

    • Might be worth considering thyroid even though the tests and back fine. Also is your water fluoridated as this can be an underlying cause. You could also consider meditation and mindfulness.

    • You should check out Dr. Tom O’Bryan, the gut doctor. He’s amazing and understands what you’re going through.
      Go to http://www.thedr.com
      You can test negative for celiac that traditional way, but there are many different gluten proteins, I think they’re called, that the one test won’t test for.
      Talk to his practice, Michelle Ross, or someone they can recommend in your area.

    • Sounds like a terrible leaky gut from eating wheat and gluten which damages the gut lining.
      Go to http://www.thedr.com Dr. Tom O’Bryans office can help!
      You need to heal the gut but you also need to get a food sensitivity test.
      Traditional allergists can do their food allergy testing for major foods.
      So hopefully you have had some help by now.

    • Perhaps eliminating rice, yogurt, and peanuts might help, because both rice and dairy turn into sugar and this article says “Peanuts are one of the most common food allergens. There are naturally occurring molds found on peanuts. Even if you don’t have an anaphylactic response to peanuts, your body may recognize them as foreign invaders and create an inflammatory response.” http://kimberlysnyder.com/blog/2012/09/22/9-foods-that-cause-inflammation-and-9-that-fight-it/ Also I have a friend who swears by this food elimination diet: https://whole30.com/? Best wishes.

  6. I was diagnosed on 10/27/16 with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) due to four years of being exposed to toxic mold in my office. Levels of .81 trichothecene (stach) and 9.25 gliotoxin (asp/pen) in my mitochondria.

    Some days are better than others but mainly bad. Due to brain and body inflammation (CRP level high), the depression is the hardest thing to overcome. Going from a high-functioning, always full of energy person to someone who just wants to stay in bed all the time has been very difficult (as many of you can understand). I also experience severe itching on my upper arms and shoulders especially at night. It drives me mad and I am awake many nights because of it.

    Been to a transitional doctor because regular docs just want to give you prescriptions and these could make my situation worse. Taking fish oil, magnesium ascorbate, vitamin c, lysine, multivitamin…was taking cholestyramine as a binding agent to remove toxins but made me very, very nauseous so had to quit. Trying chlorella powder now. Think it has even messed up my hormone levels.

    Anyone out there experiencing the similar symptoms?

    • Hi Shelly. Yes, you are not alone. I too suffer from CIRS and my body is having a difficult time detoxing due to gene mutations. I suffer from awful depression and cognitive issues, brain fog, really bad motivation. Tried all classes of antidepressants, TMS therapy ketamine infusions, nothing worked. I can’t feel positive emotions and lost all passion for life. I’m very saddened and I’m a mother of a two yr old. I also stay in bed most of the days. I’m barely functional and I was also very active before being diagnosed. I’m only 26 and I feel like my life is over. The depression from the brain inflammation is by far the worst of all the symptoms that I suffer from. I feel numb to the world. The only way to heal is to be in a mold free environment. I have to leave my house and all its belongings, but you do what needs to be done in order to get better. As hard as it may be, try to stay positive and know that you do have a chance of healing. I find that near impossible to believe myself but but it’s what is keeping me alive.

    • Shelley,
      Where did you get the mold test done? I have had mold sensitivity tests done, and my immune system reacts to the toxic molds, like you have mentioned. You may also not be able to eliminate mold from your system as I am.. Ritchie Shoemaker has a protocol.
      Thank you for any help.

    • I have CIRS and am recovering. I work with Dr Andrew Heyman in Aldie VA (I’m not based there) I get local support and we have phone appts.

    • Shelly,
      Can you tell me how and where you were tested for the mold? My doctor’s are clueless.
      I need your help.
      My doctor doesn’t want to give me the Wellchol to eliminate mold from my system because my liver enzymes have been chronically elevated due to having a candida overgrowth that wasn’t treated and became pathogenic.
      Could you please help?

  7. Thank you for this eye opening article! I have been “walking wounded” (what a college professor called depression) for almost 50 years, have been on meds for at least half of those years which definitely helped, and have benefited from talk therapies, consistent exercise (walking, yoga, meditation), too. But, still felt like there was more to do. Chronic inflammation? I have seen articles in the past, but never really given them the time of day. So thankful to you for sharing and to me for reading it ?. I WILL BE reading more about this theory! THANKS AGAIN!

  8. I was not aware of the connection between inflammation and depression. However, I have experienced this myself. After 30 years on an SSRI I have been able to stop it. After 1.5 years of improved nutrition, no sugar, no flour in my diet. I am so excited to be off of the medication. I had tried to get off multiple times before now and my mood always tanked!!

  9. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the months November to early April. This is alleviated by Light Therapy and yes taking Prozac during these months.

    From April through October I am fine with no problems.

  10. I’ve struggled off and on with depression for years. Also digestive issues. More recently, bacterial and viral infections. Bodily inflammation (like in my joints). Panic attacks and lack of emmotion or feeling or care. A long list of physical and mental/emmotional symptoms. Been treated for Candida overgrowth and yersinia infection in my gut. Being treated for Lyme and virus now.

  11. I have tried everything to help with my depression and anxiety. More recently I’ve been eating mostly AIP. My symptoms have been okay but not where I’d like them to be. I haven’t had a panic attack in a long time, I’m working again, and I’m no longer depressed. All of these things are great — but I still feel very detached from reality and my memory is off. I guess it could be described as pretty moderate to severe “brain fog.” I’m just not myself yet. Today I went to the dentist for the first time in years (we haven’t been able to afford it) and found out I have periodontal disease! I’m wondering if this could be behind some of my issues since it’s inflammation in my body. So now I’ll go in for aggressive treatment for that in two weeks and I’ll definitely be on top of it from now on. I keep searching for the “cure” for what’s going on with me. I’m going to join a new gym opening up in our area next month (we don’t have one where we live yet) and I’m hoping that getting regular cardiovascular exercise will push me in the right direction even more. I know it’s very important to fight inflammation and now there’s a new study showing a correlation between cardiovascular exercise and gut bacteria diversity. I want to beat this!

    • walk around your neighborhood with a couple of bottles of water for weights, do arm exercises with the water & when your thirsty from all your activity drink.
      Start with a short walk say 5 minutes away from the house and then increase it.
      Who needs a gym? But if you need that for accountabiltiy do it.
      Keep trying girl; & good luck & best wishes.
      I used Joe Cross juicing & mostly veg for 3 months then progressed to paleo diet.
      I Feel great – depression free for about 18 months after 25 years of depression.

    • You can beat this, Tori, and so can All of us “walking wounded”. Will keep you in my prayers.

    • Some studies have shown that depression physically damages the brain. So your body may just need some time to repair itself. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things! Hang in there!

  12. I agree. Based on my experience, the inflammation symptoms precede my anxiety or depression. I get on periodic bases bloating, rumbling and lower pain in my abdomen and a high acid in my stomach. I have Helico Pylori which was under control for more than 10 years and i abused with some alcohol and smoking and the stomach symptoms have returned and so my anxiety. The toxins are causing my neurological problems

    • You more than likely have a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth plus a candida overgrowth. You also may have a leaky gut…which can lead to autoimmune disease.
      Alcohol causes leaky gut when you drink more than the normal amount for a woman or man.
      Get to a functional medicine md for help with this. Getting a stool test to confirm the bacterial gut imbalances will be beneficial. When your gut is upset it will affect your moods. Going Paleo and getting a more healthy nutrient dense diet will help you to eliminate toxins. Alcohol depletes glutathione levels so you need to build up your glutathione stores. Get some multivitamins and mineral supplements and take them daily. Make sure there’s methyltetrahydrofolate and methylcobalamin in them. Drinking alcohol depletes all vitamins and minerals so that the body can’t detoxify itself. It all nutrient dense organically locally raised produce and meats. I drank alcohol due to having anxiety and depression and the professionals long ago just did talk therapy but didn’t address the underlying cause….gluten sensitivities and genetic polymorphisms in my liver (missing the glutathione gene and I don’t detox well through the liver). I am suffering quite a bit. Not sure if I will make it…thanks to western medicine and not finding the answers to my chronic health issues over time.

  13. One strong possible cause of inflammation you left out of this article is GRAIN intolerance and sensitivity/allergy (not JUST wheat and/or gluten, but the entire range of known & unknown grain-related toxic proteins).

  14. I 100% agree with this.. based on my own trials and research. I’ve spent years trying to control depressive symptoms and anxiety. Started with allergy shots, four years of them.. did seem to help quite a bit, but at that time didn’t know why it helped.. inflammation triggered by allergies was why. Found myself back in the dr office shortly after, first round of antidepressant Paxil… sent me off in psychosis-land.. also tried Celexa and finally Prozac which was a whole other kind of nightmare. Gave the antidepressants a rest and went the beta blocker route… lost a lot of friends in that period because it turned me into a very hostile aggressive person.. got into a few fights before getting off of those.. then I tried good ol’ Sam-e.. almost died from this and I only took a quarter of a tablet. Major psychosis apparently I was trying to overdose on old unsed antidepressants… Skipped taking anything for a long time except magnesium supplements which quickly caused problems as well and I still don’t know why… Then one day while working, I tore a tendon in my forearm and was promptly prescribed Naproxen… finally for the FIRST TIME in my life, I could actually relax… I cried people… This was a miracle to me… Gone was the heavy burdened feeling, the mental fog, the irritability, the anxiety… all of it gone. Took some time but eventually adjusted my diet and have experienced major relief however I do still take aleve on days when the inflammation is high causing pin- pupils.. myopia?, strained sound in my voice, basically stress and tension coming on. Anyway, it works and I’ve told others including my doc at that time and they just give me that weird kind of look like uh huh.. yeah. And I, I just smile because now I can 🙂

    • Wow …thank you for sharing . I too have high levels of inflammation, CRP , esr , ANA ,PTH levels and have been physically unwell and depressed as well and feel numb and blunted and no doctor can actually pinpoint what I have .. Positive genetic markers for celiac but gluten test was normal . One dr says lupus maybe , another one thyroid , maybe parathyroid . 3 yrs of hell and thousands of dollars wasted and no one can tell me what’s wrong . In not living just existing and in pain 24/7 … Worth trying what Chris says which I do already but need to be 100% and try naproxen . I take Valium for muscle pain twice a week

      • Hi Carmen,
        I’m sorry for you’re physical and mental suffering. I too have been extremely ill and so sick I’ve been home bound for approx 17+ yrs 1rst bedridden 21 yrs ago. Like u I do not live at all I just waste away on the couch. Watching tv to try and distract me from my debilitating symptoms is mostly all I do and can do except sometimes read and research my health. Even before this I spent many yrs with severe chronic major depression. I’ve been learning a lot lately because I can’t bare another day literally in the worst hell ever for most of my life. I believe inflammation is cause for a lot as well as digestion and digestive problems like I said and leaky gut syndrome. Toxins are a big problem allergies including food allergies and malnourishment from poor digestion. U may have some of these but one seems to cause the other and then the other so they can be intertwined quite a. It as well as viruses bacteria candida and parasites etc. look into all or some of that as for me I think it’s where I’ll find my answers and root causes of my fibromyalgia and Cfs possible lupus and also near to repair my adrenals and thyroid and possible balance hormones and my blood sugar which has been severe hypoglycemia for yrs and then I have about 100 symptoms. It the debilitating fatigue is the worst pain is horrific as is the insomnia and sleep issues and of course unbearable depression and around the clock anxiety. I just bought several books on these subjects but u might want to check out ” the ultra simple diet” by mark hyman who deals with a lot of these topics and online and maybe in book outlines how to get rid of its if u think u have it but he really addresses inflammation and toxins, being toxic through his 7 day diet, or food plan which is really about health not weight loss, resorting health but if u need to lose weight u probably will. Anyway allergies can result including food and it seems that tests are really unreliable for food allergies. My suggestion is to do the food elimination diet where u eliminate the most common allergen foods and for u I’d definitely take out wheat/ gluten and then in two 3 weeks or longer u introduce 1 at a time and see how u feel. U can also take them out one at a time. It’s seems to be the only truly reliable way to know maybe because there are allergies and there are sensitivities, etc. which don’t show up on tests. It’s worth a shot but all of these things I. mentioned are interrelated so u may want to learn about all and how one causes the other or research what your instincts tell u or just read and see if any of it sounds applicable. I’m just at the very beginning with this and heard inflammation causes many diseases just never heard it causing depression but have heard about diet in connection to depression. I just looked back to childhood at my first symptoms that were with my stomach and digestion so started investigating there and any of my next symptoms and if anyone tied in digestion to fibromyalgia or Cfs. Good luck I hope u find healing answers and great health and get to live life again. No life with debilitating symptoms is as bad as it gets hopefully you’ll get better now and not spend most of your life home bound like me. Best of luck

        • Hi Shannon , thank you so much . I’ve been paleo for a while with the occasional slip up and gluten free . I’ve done an organic acid test which I’m not sure if it was a complete was of money . It’s distressing feeling awful but we plod along and try and survive . I have had to give up my career as the fatigue and pain was getting worse and I sadly after 14 yrs just couldn’t push myself . Next month I’m going to start vitamin C infusions and see if I need counselling to
          With the sadness and stress that this fatigue and fogginess and detachment that this has caused . Pain is one thing but emotional
          Flatness is another and is awful . ?i hope you are feeling better now or an improvement hopefully . I tried LDN but when I titrated up to 3.0 mg I got hit with the worst depression, extra fatigue on top of my bad fatigue ( who knew that was even possible) and teariness and nausea etc xx

          • You may have gut dysbiosis and methylation issues…please get to a Functional Medicine Doctor and see if staying away from gluten and other inflammatory foods can help…they irritate the gut lining which affects the mind. Perhaps you have candida overgrowth too which affects the gut lining which affects the mood. Perhaps you’re deficient in many vitamins and minerals due to a malabsorption issue in the gut. Magnesium is a mineral we all are deficient in as well. Get some Magnesium oil by Ancient minerals on amazon if you think this will help. Go to their website and read the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency as well. Hope this helps. http://www.instituteoffunctionalmedicine.com website will help you to find a FM MD.

      • I don’t know if your male or female but I can tell you that I have learned many many women are sick and can’t find answers and the culprit turns out to be breast implants. Many of us are or become hypersensitive to the silicone and some have ruptured implants, as a result, biotoxins have run amok! Most doctors do not recognize bii which is breast implant illness. There’s a site, actually there are many on Facebook but one in particular has about 6,000 women who are very very sick from Bii. This site is called “implant illness by Nicole” I hope this information will help you get to the bottom of your inflammation and in lieu of that will help with your depression.

      • Have you ever been tested for poor methylation (detoxification)? Could be that you don’t detoxify well through the liver. Just a thought!

    • So happy for you Tony… Finding what works for you and being able to smile ? regardless of the reaction from your doc ??

  15. Had emergency antiobiotic treatment 4 weeks ago and the digestive system was completed left in havoc. Created massive inflammation, food sensitivities and bowel irritation. Started massive probiotic treatment along with taking 100 mcg selenoprecise daily, and now 3 weeks later the symptoms are only half as bad. It requires patience and time.
    Good read on the overlooked selenium: http://healthandscience.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=869:remember-to-get-enough-selenium-for-your-immune-defense-throughout-life-us&catid=20&lang=us&Itemid=374

  16. I have severe depression atm. Bought on by a loss in the family. I have been diagnosed with over 30 medical conditions. Many mentioned….. including allergies, sleep apnea, oral lichen playnus, ahernia, reynards phenomenon, continuous gut bleeding, obisity, arthritis, fibromyalgia, pollymyalgia, and many more including major inflammation throughout my body. Out of all my medical conditions, depression is the worst

  17. look up MTHFR. It explains a lot and is where my research is heading to and because it is not pharmaceutical driven, they will hate it. look it up

  18. Thanks for the article, it’s very helpful. I love how you explain the multi factorial nature of depression and health.