Can inflammation cause depression How to reduce neuro inflammation to treat depression, bipolar and other mental health problems

Is Hidden Inflammation the Cause of Your Mental Health Problems?

© (January 2016 #1)

Why You Want to Reduce Inflammation in Your Brain

You may not immediately connect inflammation to mental health problems but there’s a large and solid body of evidence showing that inflammation in the brain at least contributes to mental health problems if not actually causes them in the first place; working with patients my observation is that eradicating chronic inflammation in the brain can make or break to success of the treatment for mental health problems, don’t skimp on reducing inflammation if you want to heal your brain and recover from a mental health problem; you don’t want to be six months down the road and find your treatment didn’t work because you failed to eliminate chronic hidden inflammation from your brain.


Acute Versus Silent or Hidden Inflammation

Extreme inflammation in any body part particularly the brain can be very damaging, potentially fatal and should be treated immediately with aggressive anti-inflammatory drug therapy typically steroids; the presence of extreme inflammation is usually obvious, there’s swelling, fever, pain and clinical markers such as elevated CRP in the blood. Inflammation can also exist however at low levels in the background without producing any obvious signs this can be referred to as hidden or silent inflammation and when hidden or silent inflammation persists over a long period of time it accelerates degenerative disease in many parts of the body. In the brain hidden inflammation can cause reduced function in specific regions of the brain that cause mental health problems and Alzheimer’s disease.

The type of inflammation discussed in this article is not acute inflammation like meningitis it’s low-grade hidden inflammation, you probably don’t even know you have it but it can silently insidiously chip away at your health especially the health of your heart and brain.
Some sighs that you may have inflammation include:
• Do you have a sense of ‘brain fog'?
• Do you have a lot of muscle or joint aches?
• Do you sometimes feel swollen or puffy?
• Do you have a lot of pain?
• Do you have gastrointestinal problems?
Hidden inflammation may be just one contributing factor to your problem or it may be the primary underlying cause of the condition.
Understanding whether or not hidden inflammation is the actual underlying cause of your chronic health problem is not as important as understanding that at the very least it’s probably making your condition worse and reducing it almost always helps to the treatment, furthermore not getting rid of hidden inflammation may impede your recovery therefore eliminating it should be always be a therapeutic target.
Inflammation almost always makes chronic and degenerative health problems worse; it intensifies the severity of the condition and accelerates its progression.
For example if you have cardiovascular disease you can slow it down perhaps even halt its progress by eradicating chronic inflammation from your body, alternatively you may be able to improve or eradicate arthritic pain and aches and pains throughout the body and chronic silent inflammation in the brain can cause mental health problems including depression, bipolar, OCD and schizophrenia.
This article is about how to eliminate chronic silent inflammation by:-

  1. Following an anti-inflammatory diet, balancing the ratio of the omega-6 oil arachidonic acid to the omega-3 oil EPA, controlling insulin and consuming polyphenol rich foods at every meal. 
  2. Brain training developed the off-stress switch in the brain to dampen down overproduction of stress hormones that cause silent chronic inflammation.
  3. Remodelling traumatic memories which excessively trigger stress responses.
  4. Healing the blood brain barrier.
  5. Improving the health of the digestive system, healing leaky gut and improving the bowel flora.
  6. Eliminating food and other allergens/sensitivities.
  7. Eliminating silent stealth infections and reducing oral bacteria.
  8. Improving restorative sleep physiology.
  9. Detoxifying the body of toxic metal and petrochemical pollutants.
  10. Exercising to reduce oxidative stress.
  11. Losing excess weight.
  12. Stopping smoking.

How to Combat Chronic Inflammation

Start by changing the hormonal systems that control inflammation  globally throughout your whole system, these are the stress hormone cortisol that is distributed everywhere and the eicosanoid hormones that are made in every cell and act locally. 

Control Your Eicosanoids to Reduce Inflammation

Eicosanoids Hormones Control Inflammation, every cell in the body makes eicosanoids hormones from the essential fats that we consume in a diet. Eicosanoids are what are called local-hormones because they don’t travel around the body in the blood but act locally in the cells and tissues where they are made. Some eicosanoids promote inflammation and some decrease it, we actually need both the anti-and pro-inflammatory eicosanoids but many people have elevated levels of the pro-inflammatory variety leading to inflammation and chronic health problems.
The inflammatory eicosanoids are made from the omega-6 oil arachidonic acid (AA) and this process is inhibited by the omega-3 oil EPA. 
The anti-inflammatory diet consists of:-
1/ Balancing the ratio of the omega-6 oil arachidonic acid to omega-3 oil EPA.
2/ Reducing insulin production by choosing the right carbohydrates in the first place and then controlling the carbohydrates by combining them with the right proportion of protein and healthy oils.
3/ Flooding the body with polyphenols from coloured vegetables and fruits at each meal.
Elevated Blood Sugar/Insulin causes Inflammation
Do you feel drowsy after lunch or dinner? You shouldn’t it means you are probably overproducing insulin and have already begun to move towards developing diabetes
Insulin activate the enzyme [] that converts arachidonic acid into inflammatory eicosanoids therefore to reduce inflammation you must reduce insulin/sugar levels in the blood; you can do this through dietary and lifestyle modification:
1/ Avoid all carbohydrates with the GI above 70.
2/ Avoid large quantities of carbohydrates with a high glycaemic load.
3/ Always consume protein and healthy oils at the same time as you eat carbohydrates to reduce the rate at which they can be broken down intending to glucose in other words to reduce their effective GI.
4/ Consume a serving of beans and or lentils with each meal to get your friendly bacteria to produce lots of propionate a chemical that significantly reduces the amount of insulin we produce.
5/ Consume a coffee made from real beans with each meal because coffee has a powerful beneficial effect on controlling blood sugar.
6/ Practice intermittent fasting techniques such as the 5-2 diet.
7/ Practice a specific type of exercise that takes less than five minutes every two days called high-intensity interval training HIIT which consists of three 30 secnd bursts of vigourous exercise.
Follow the link for more on how to reduce blood sugar/insulin

Elevated Stress Hormones causes Inflammation The HPA over-activity and low BDNF hypothesis of depression

Over activity in a stress pathway in the body called the HPA axis leads to overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol which leads to elevated levels of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. In my opinion people often don’t appreciate just what a significant source of inflammation this can be, it doesn’t matter whether you feel stressed or not you can still have over activity in your HPA axis and more importantly by dampening it down you can significantly reduce inflammation throughout your body and brain.
I’ve discussed this in more detail elsewhere but in brief over activity in the stress pathway from the hypothalamus to the adrenal glands increases the level of inflammatory chemicals in the brain (cytokines) and if you don’t have enough BDNF a protein that protects brain cells from the negative effects of elevated inflammation then key structures in the brain that control mood and mental health can break down. Prolonged inflammation and inadequate BDNF literally causes a loss of the number of synapses in brain regions critically involved in maintaining mental health, according to this new understanding you have depression for example not because you have a lack of serotonin in your synapses but because you now have a lack of actual serotonin carrying synapses. Critically the good news is if you reduce hidden inflammation in your brain and…
Brain scans of people with chronic depression, bipolar syndrome and OCD have revealed the body’s stress responses (HPA axis) may be genetically preprogrammed into a person in other words

This section is about the anti-inflammatory diet that reduces the production of inflammatory hormones (inflammatory eicosanoids) in our cells and increases the production of anti-inflammatory hormones, when it comes to inflammation in the brain and mental health problems however besides the balance of eicosanoids hormones produced in the cells of the brain there is another major player involved that have to be taken care of and that is overactivity in a hormonal stress-pathway in the body called the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal pathway or HPA axis short. 
Leaky Gut Syndrome causes Inflammation

Leaky Blood-Brain Barrier causes Inflammation

Combine acetyl-L-carnitine with pantethine, an anti-inflammatory diet and high dose antioxidants to heal the BBB.
Eliminate Toxins and Infections to Reduce Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can come from the presence of chemical toxins such as pesticide residues and pollutants in our bodies, ongoing low-grade infections from viruses or bacteria can cause inflammation, the toxins left behind following infections and heavy-metal toxins.
In my practice I apply a variety of naturopathic and functional medicine techniques to detoxify my patients and combat inflammation, there are techniques to detoxify heavy metals, perform and oil change and flush petrochemical pollutants out of the body, detoxify the liver and kidneys, and fasting can be used as a powerful detoxifier.
Allergies cause Inflammation
Traumatic Brain Injury causes Inflammation
Anti Inflamitory Supplements

[i] Lithium Ameliorates Neurodegeneration, Suppresses Neuroinflammation, and Improves Behavioral Performance in a Mouse Model of Traumatic Brain Injury.  Fengshan Yu, Zhifei Wang, Flaubert Tchantchou, et. Al.  Journal of Neurotrauma. January 2012, 29(2): 362-374. doi:10.1089/neu.2011.1942.
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Hi my name is Peter Smith I specialise in treating and coaching people how to live well with mental health problems, digestive health problems/IBS, sleep problems and type II diabetes using natural therapies.
I used these techniques to overcome and live well with my own bipolar disorder and IBS. I've been in practice as a natural medicine practitioner since 1988.

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