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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Researchers Accidentally Uncover Silent Cause of Depression

African American woman depressed

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a leading cause of disability. One study, however, discovered a very important root cause for depression. Apparently, the problem is chronic inflammation.
The truth about inflammation

In a study of patients suffering from depression, small inflammatory proteins called cytokines were found in elevated levels in depression patients. Study authors believe that depression is the result of the body’s attempt to protect itself from an inflammatory response. When the body is in a state of chronic inflammation, brain cells called microglia are activated that can cause anxiety and agitation.

The study likened the symptoms of the flu to symptoms of depression. Flu, caused by inflammation, results in mood changes, such as becoming less sociable and more withdrawn and more sleepy. These are some of the same characteristics of depression. The study showed that about one-third of depressed patients have consistently high levels of inflammation.

What can help?

The study showed that patients taking anti-inflammatory drugs noticed changes in their mood, and the study found there were significant changes in their brains’ neuro-chemical circuitry. It was recommended that a diet rich in inflammatory properties might help fight not only inflammation in the body but also depression.

This includes foods rich in healthy fats such as nuts, and foods rich in Beta-carotene, Omega-3, and vitamin D.

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