Inflammation is the body’s natural response to infection or injury. It’s an important response in the acute setting but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of diseases such as heart disease and even depression. Most psychiatrists now recognize that inflammation plays a role in depressive disorders, although it’s not an inflammatory disease. Much of the research on inflammation and depression is ongoing and will develop over time.
Risk Factors for Inflammation
· Childhood trauma
· High stress levels (work, school)
· Depression that is resistant to treatment
· Severe anxiety
· Obesity BMI> 30
· Medical illness
· Recent injury or surgery
What are some nonpharmacological things we can do to reduce inflammation and thus the risk of disease?
Complementary and alternative therapies
Lifestyle: Exercise, Healthy diet, Mindfulness practice, CBT all have anti-inflammatory effects.
N-acetylcysteine studies with 2000 mg/day improved anxiety and depressive symptoms
L-methyl folate: L-methyl folate 15 mg/day as augmentation to antidepressants
Omega-3: 1000 mg/day of omega-3 fatty acids with DHA to EPA ratio > 60% improved depressive symptoms