By Robert Luby, MD
Note:This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.
Interested in more information on how inflammatory foods may contribute to depression? To learn more about the subject, sign up for our Depression... An Inflammatory Condition? class on Thursday, January 24 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Food can play a significant role in initiating, perpetuating, exacerbating, and treating depression. In order to understand how this may be possible, it is necessary to understand the role of inflammation with regards to depression.
Inflammation is the normal transient response manifested by the immune system in the presence of microbial infection, tissue trauma, psychosocial stress, and inappropriate foods. In the short term, inflammation is a necessary and beneficial response to each of these adverse environmental encounters. Inflammation mediates the natural healing processes of the body to facilitate recovery.
A problem arises however, if the environmental “encounter” becomes a “sustained exposure”. One such sustained exposure is the regular ingestion of foods which are “pro-inflammatory”. This type of eating pattern has the potential to create a sustained and prolonged inflammatory response of the immune system. Unlike the beneficial outcome of a transient inflammatory response, a sustained inflammatory response can have devastating effects, especially upon the brain and the “neurotransmitters” which mediate the state of our mood.