When inflammation is always “on” it can easily turn on the body instead of protecting it, and even the brain is not safe
When it comes to protecting your body against injury and infection, your immune system is the first line of defense. When the healing is done, the process should stop. But when the process of inflammation gets stuck on the “on” switch, a majority of problems can arise.
Instead of protecting your body, the inflammation process can attack healthy tissues, cells and blood vessels. This is known as systematic or chronic inflammation. This can even occur in the brain.
Some experts believe depression may not be a disease, but rather a symptom of inflammation
When the body’s happy chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) are low, the end result is depression, at least this is what most of the medical community believes. Although this is widely believed, it is only just a theory!
Because of the brain chemical theory, millions of depressed people are given antidepressants. But they have been proven to be nothing more than a placebo, as they have been shown to only work in less than 50% of people who take them.
But could there be another cause for depression that the medical community seems to be missing? The answer is yes!
The “cytokine model of depression” explains how chronic inflammation leads to depression
Your body’s immune system messengers are known as cytokines. While some fuel inflammation, other’s manage it. Since the 1980s, it has been known that the cytokines in the brain that are inflammatory start the inflammation process, changing brain function and destroying tissue.
They are the biggest contributors to lack of focus, suicidal ideation, bipolar disorder, memory problems, anxiety, schizophrenia, slowed responses, lack of interest, severe lethargy, anorexia and impaired attention and memory.
SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), the most widely used antidepressants, are believed to increase serotonin levels, but evidence suggests they might have anti-inflammatory properties, and that is why the work so effectively against depression.
Your brain has an immune system that can also turn against it
The central nervous system’s primary line of defense are the microglia immune cells. These are found in the brain. Activated microglia cells create inflammation for the entirety of their lifespan. There is no switch to turn them “off” or “on”.
The microglia cells are activated when the blood-brain barrier is damaged. When damaged, it becomes “leaky.” This enables pathogens and toxins to enter, activating the microglia and creating inflammation in the brain. This damaged barrier also enables inflammation from elsewhere in the body to enter the brain and trigger it’s inflammation response as well.
Turning off the inflammation response in the brain is key
The best way to turn off the brain’s inflammation response is by adopting an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. This includes making healthy diet choices (eating anti-inflammatory foods and avoiding inflammatory foods), taking anti-inflammatory supplements, reducing stress levels, sleeping more and exercising.