Depression- Associated with Brain Inflammation

depression2Depression affects 4% of us at any given time and 10% of us at some point. If you are suffering from a severe episode, it can be incapacitating and feel like pain or you may have trouble feeling at all and just feel numb to any sensations. Often there is anxiety along with the depression. Anti-depressants only work half the time and really don’t address the underlying causes of depression, yet you should not avoid them if you are in a desperate state.  They could save your life while you explore the more permanent solution that likely requires a major life-style change along with addressing nutritional deficiencies.

The study “Role of translocator protein density, a marker of neuroinflammation, in the brain during major depressive episodes,” (which you can read here… ) while technical and focused on translocator protein density as the marker for inflammation in the brain, it does show the link. During a major depression there is brain inflammation, and microglial activation.

PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography) have shown significant brain inflammation in those with depression, with the highest inflammation correlating with the most severe depression.

So what can you do if you are suffering from depression?

Avoid those things that increase inflammation:

  • Sugar and high fructose corn syrup (sweeteners in general should be avoided- especially aspartame)
  • Saturated fat and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (avoid junk food and fast food, and minimize animal fats)
  • For many, gluten and possibly most grains or highly processed grains trigger inflammation.
  • Substances of abuse (alcohol, marijuana, opiates and other mood altering drugs and substances)
  • Avoid toxic people and situations (emotional stress causes a real physical reaction)


Do these things every day:

  • Take 5000 IU vitamin D daily (teens and adults)
  • Take 1.5 to 2 grams of fish oil (EPA:DHA ratio of 2:1 or 3:1)- you need to stay on this for 6-9 months to rebuild your cell membranes. (take it for life).
  • Take methyl-B12 and methyl-folate (not regular folate)
  • Exercise (moderation) and get enough sleep (7-8 hours minimum during the usual night hours).

Dr. Paul




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