The Inflammation-Depression Connection: "Doc Talks" with Dr. Daniel NuzumReading Time: 4 minutes
Jonathan Hunsaker: Inflammation and depression. Is there a connection?
Hey, Jonathan Hunsaker here with Organixx. Listen, we got an interesting question the other day about inflammation and depression. Does inflammation cause depression or even contribute to depression? Doc Nuzum has a really interesting take on it. Let’s go see what he has to say right now.
Dr. Daniel Nuzum: Our question today is “What is the link between inflammation and depression?” This is really an interesting thing. Both inflammation and depression are symptoms, not diseases. Inflammation is caused by an irritation, just like depression. Depression, there’s a reason for depression, also. When inflammation sets into the system—inflammation is swelling. I mean this goes down to onto the cellular level, actually. So, it’s not just a sore shoulder that doesn’t move well; it’s the cells in our body, in our tissues, actually don’t—they lose some of their flexibility and mobility in an inflamed environment.
As inflammation sets into the system, and swelling sets in, the metabolism starts to reduce. It starts to suppress our metabolic processes. And so, things like nutrition gets disrupted. And on the flip side, detoxification, the exiting of toxic waste from the cells, also gets disrupted.
As that happens, hormone receptors on the cells become plugged up with toxins. Or the receptor sites themselves can morph and kind of warp if that makes sense. They warp, and then the hormones don’t fit into those receptor sites anymore.
All this happens in an inflamed environment. So, directly—how inflammation directly, physiologically affects depression is that inflammation slows down everything.
As the metabolic processes become depressed, because of inflammation, and as inflammation sets in the system, things become suppressed. Things don’t operate as well. It takes more energy to get the same job done, which leads to fatigue because inflammation causes these things.
As that happens, and we start getting worn down, our mental capacity to adapt becomes affected. As that happens, then things like depression and anxiety are way easier to develop in someone.
Let’s say you were an athlete, and you got quite a few injuries as an athlete. Now you’re in your 40s and 50s, and because of age, things have slowed down a little bit, but you have this inflammation that’s set in, and it’s set into those old injuries. Which makes all the activities that you may enjoy more difficult to do.
That starts to affect people mentally. When they can’t continue to do the activities they enjoy because they have this “inflammation,” this swelling in some tissue somewhere, causing them pain and discomfort, that becomes a source or something to become depressed about.
We haven’t even discussed how inflammation in the gut reduces the production of our neurotransmitters, most importantly, dopamine and serotonin. When our microbiome has been affected by either toxicity, an infection, or an injury of some sort, or even by antibiotics, the microbiome is where a majority of our serotonin (our happy hormone) and our dopamine (our satisfaction hormone) are produced in our system.
It’s in our gut is where these hormones, our neurotransmitters are produced. So, if we have gut inflammation affecting our microbiome, our microbiome then can’t operate properly because it’s been irritated and you’ve maybe lost different groups of probiotics that should be in your gut that are key factors in the production of these neurotransmitters. As the microbiome gets affected, the body’s ability to produce these neurotransmitters gets reduced.
Think of this. Between 80 and 85 percent of all of the dopamine and serotonin in your body are produced in your gut. Your central nervous system, where these hormones have their function and are used, only produces between 15 to 20 percent of the total dopamine and serotonin that you need on a daily basis. The rest of it comes from a healthy gut, and if the gut isn’t healthy, they don’t come from anywhere.
So, if gut health is poor, production of these neurotransmitters reduces. As that happens, that predisposes you to depression, to anxiety, to mood swings, and all kinds of things like that.
And so, the interaction between inflammation and depression actually is the fact that inflammation causes a depression of our metabolic activity and it reduces our energy level. And that feeds into depression. So, inflammation doesn’t directly cause depression, but it becomes a factor. And when inflammation affects us to the point that we can’t operate properly, we can’t do all the things we enjoy to do, that becomes a factor in depression.
When inflammation and gut health gets intertwined, and gut health becomes unhealthy, the microbiome and the gut can’t interact the way they’re supposed to, to produce the neurotransmitters that we need to stay happy and satisfied with our lives.
I hope this answers the question, “How does inflammation affect depression?” So, here’s to an INSPIRED life. Thank you very much.
Jonathan Hunsaker: I find it fascinating how Doc makes the connection with inflammation and depression, simply because inflammation slows down our metabolism, affects us on a cellular level, and it slows everything down and affects our energy, which, in my opinion, can add to that depression and depressed feeling.
So, what do you think about it? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss any videos from us.