Wellness

Depression: chronic inflammation makes us mope

Chronic inflammation would be responsible for the occurrence of depression. This is what Cambridge researchers point out by highlighting the inflammatory nature of depression and by providing evidence of the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs, similar to those used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, to treat some cases of depression. This review of the literature, presented in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, suggests being more mindful of our immune system in mental health disorders.

The highlighted link

Previous research has already suggested, in children, that high levels of inflammatory markers are associated with a higher risk of depression and psychosis in adulthood. These findings also support the role of chronic systemic inflammation in mental illness. Several studies have documented this key role of inflammation in depression, if only through stress. Brain inflammation is well associated with stress and major depression and there is a link between chronic inflammation and the onset of depression.

These experts from Cambridge’s Department of Psychiatry review data from 20 clinical trials on the use of anti-cytokine drugs in the treatment of a variety of autoimmune inflammatory diseases. By studying the collateral beneficial side effects of these treatments, the researchers identified a significant antidepressant effect. Meta-analyses of other clinical trials then confirm this result.

An increasingly well-known mechanism

Exposure to an infection triggers an immune system response, and during this process immune cells flood the bloodstream with proteins called cytokines. This process is known as systemic inflammation. But even when we’re healthy, the authors explain in their statement, our bodies carry traces of these proteins. These markers will increase the response to infection. But inflammation can also occur as a result of autoimmune responses such as those seen in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and Crohn’s disease.

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The new “anti-cytokine” anti-inflammatories, recently developed to respond to some of these autoimmune diseases, here prove capable of reducing the severity of depressive symptoms. For Dr Golam Khandaker, lead author of the study, it is increasingly clear that inflammation plays a key role in depression, at least in some patients, and it may be possible to treat these patients with this new class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If it is premature to say that these anti-cytokine drugs can be used in clinical practice in the treatment of depression.

About a third of patients who are resistant to antidepressants show signs of inflammation. Available antidepressants target a particular type of neurotransmitter, but a third of patients do not respond to these drugs.

Fight chronic inflammation naturally

Complementary health approaches have already identified this point for a long time and answers to the moderation of chronic inflammation have been provided. We thus find real keys to fight against chronic inflammation with: the Mediterranean diet, Omega 3 supplementation, spices such as turmeric (curcumin) and pepper (piperine), the benefits of regular physical activity which we you often talk about in our columns, mediation, yoga, etc. Choose from the natural anti-inflammatory arsenal what suits you best and help you get back on track.

Source: Molecular Psychiatry 18 Oct 2016 DOI: 10.1038/mp.2016.167 Antidepressant activity of anti-cytokine treatment: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of chronic inflammatory conditions

* The information and services available on pressesante.com in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals. [HighProtein-Foods.com]

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