Depression affects one in four people at some time in their lives. The World Health Organization states that depression is the leading cause of disability, affecting more than 300 million people worldwide. Close to 800,000 people die to suicide per year.
Researchers discovered in the early 1980s that inflammatory cytokines produce a wide variety of psychiatric and neurological symptoms which shows characteristics of depression. These cytokines that come out in times of infection by immune cells are called macrophages. Macrophages produce a wide array of cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors that promote inflammation, its regulation, and restoration of tissue.
Inflammation in the brain activates the microglia or immune cells, which interfere with the normal production of the mood-influencing molecule serotonin. Serotonin is the “happiness” hormone and these disruptions to serotonin production can lead to depression.
One study investigated the microglia to inflammation in patients suffering from major depressive disorder. Researchers looked for markers of inflammation in the the brains through 3D (PET) scans. They found increased levels of a key inflammatory marker on microglia in the brains of patients experiencing suicidal thoughts, which adds to the link between inflammation and suicide.
Inflammation and depression can be treated through diet, lifestyle and determining any other underlying causes of inflammation. Metabolite urine testing can identify neurotransmitter diseases affecting dopamine and serotonin metabolism in the brain. Schedule an appointment to discuss inflammation and any signs of depression. We can help.
If you ever experiencing any thoughts of depression or suicide, please reach out for help from friends, family, or professionals who can help.
In health and happiness,