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Research Finds Depression Is Linked To Allergic Reaction To Inflammation

Research Finds Depression Is Linked To Allergic Reaction To Inflammation

Inflammation is a buzzword these days. We might be familiar with inflammation in the sense of having a messed-up knee from a sports injury, but what is it in the broader sense?

Inflammation can also be a systemic problem affecting the major organs and the entire body. It’s interesting to note that “pain may not be a primary symptom of an inflammatory disease, since many organs do not have many pain-sensitive nerves.

Generally feeling achy, having low energy, shortness of breath, skin issues, and fluid retention are possible symptoms. Perhaps most surprising are correlations research is finding between inflammation and depression.

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However, Tim De Chant of NOVA writes, “Inflammation is our immune system’s natural response to injuries, infections, or foreign compounds. When triggered, the body pumps various cells and proteins to the site through the blood stream, including cytokines, a class of proteins that facilitate intercellular communication. It also happens that people suffering from depression are loaded with cytokines.” According to this and other similar articles, depression qualifies as a symptom of an allergic reaction to inflammation.

An article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience notes, “Inflammation is therefore an important biological event that might increase the risk of major depressive episodes.” This is specifically true in those with chronic, systemic infections, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Chronic inflammation, in terms of autoimmune disease, is essentially the body’s defense mechanism gone rogue, or at least extreme. White blood cells react to and damage the body’s own tissues in the absence of foreign invaders.

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Inflammation is 30% higher in clinically depressed patients. It appears that depression and inflammation feed off of each other in a destructive cycle, which wreaks havoc on the body and the mind.

It’s also clear that depression increases inflammation, as is highlighted in this paper by Stefan M. Gold PhD. and Michael R. Irwin MD. He states that “major depressive disorders show alterations in immunologic markers including increases in pro-inflammatory cytokine activity and inflammation.”

Essentially, when an individual is experiencing inflammation, depression adds fuel to the inflammatory fire by activating more of the elements that aggravate it. What’s more, research has uncovered clear links between inflammation and BiPolar disorder, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

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This scientific review looks at the connections between depression, inflammation, and heart issues as a very stark and unavoidable progression. It states, “Depression leads to inflammation and inflammation leads to coronary artery disease.”

The possibility of reducing depression through anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), Acetaminophens (paracetomal or Tylenol), or Corticosteroids (synthetic hormonal steroids) seems to be on the horizon, though more research is necessary before those avenues are actively pursued.

An alternative to pharmaceutical options is the more natural and long-term option of consuming healthier, inflammation-reducing foods, drinks, and herbs.

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Here are some foods to help reduce inflammation and, therefore, depression:

  • Tart Cherries – Linked to significant reduction in osteoarthritis symptoms for athletes.
  • Fish Oil – Linked to reduction of inflammation and anxiety.
  • Green Tea – Lots of polyphenols, a particular antioxidant shown to lower risks and symptoms of chronic disease

Herbs that may help reduce inflammation are:

  • Turmeric – Contains high amounts of curcumin, which boasts powerful anti-inflammatory properties in recent studies.
  • Ginger – “Contains pungent phenolic substances with pronounced anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities.”
  • Rosemary – “Conclusively, rosemary can be considered an herbal anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent.”

It’s no surprise, but the most common and offensive foods triggering inflammation are those highly processed and loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats. However, each individual may have more specific allergens and should be tested for sensitivities to things like wheat, gluten, peanuts, eggs, etc. to figure out if there are more serious inflammatory responses at work compromising their health and vitality.

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Hannah Glenn

Copywriter and Editor

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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