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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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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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