Reducing Inflammation Can Reduce Anxiety and Depression
How are your 2019 goals going? Do you feel like you’re making progress with your New Year’s resolutions? Or is your mental health weighing you down? It can be disappointing to make all these goals for your new year and then realize that you don’t feel like taking steps towards them because you’re too anxious, depressed, unmotivated or irritable. “New Year, New You” might already be fading away to “New Year, Same Old”. Sometimes before you start tackling your goals, you need to get your head in the right space first. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, that means doing everything you can to improve your chances of healing.
There is exciting research in the field of mental health regarding the role that inflammation plays in anxiety and depression. Laboratory studies have found that inflammation impacts regions of the brain associated with fear and anxiety. Scientists have also found that factors that increase inflammation like poor diet, poor lifestyle, illness and stress can interfere with the production of serotonin and dopamine. These are brain chemicals that are important for mood and happiness.
Numerous studies have found that anxiety and depression patients seem to have higher levels of inflammation markers in their blood and cerebrospinal fluid. It also seems like anxiety and depression can further increase inflammation in the body (sounds like a vicious cycle, right?). It has even been found that some patients with mental health conditions have a genetic predisposition to higher levels of inflammation. Some doctors are using the term “brainflammation” to describe this connection between mental health and inflammation.
Naturally, scientists want to see if reducing inflammation can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Herbs that reduce inflammation such as turmeric have been able to reduce symptoms of both anxiety and depression in several studies. There are many other natural ways your naturopathic doctor can use herbal medicine and nutritional supplements to reduce inflammation.
But beyond taking a pill, how else can you reduce inflammation? Eat well. Sleep well. Exercise. Relax. Lose Weight. These are core pillars of health and key ways to reduce inflammation.
Confused about all the information out there on how to eat well? Talk to a naturopathic doctor. Our whole job is to sift through the truth and the trendy myths to give you the diet information that will actually help you without overwhelming you. Not sleeping well despite drowning in melatonin supplements and sleepy tea? Talk to a naturopathic doctor. We’ll set you up on a science-based plan that solves your unique sleep problems. If you need support with losing weight, managing stress and exercising, naturopathic doctors can help you or connect you to resources and other people that can help you.
January can be such an exciting month full of promise for the year to come. It doesn’t have to be a month of disappointment and failed New Year’s resolutions. If you take the right steps and get the right support, this can be a year of real progress in your physical and mental health. If you want “New year, New you” to be true for you in 2019, prioritize yourself and prioritize your mental health.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected].