Depression is a mental illness that affects over 350 million people worldwide. It is characterised by fatigue, sadness, the loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, disrupted sleep or appetite, and concentration problems. Depression can have different causes, so what are the main ones?
Inflammation of the brain as a cause for depression
Thanks to a study carried out by a team of researchers in the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto (Canada), we now know one of the causes for depression that was unknown of up until now. In light of the fact that 30% of people affected by advanced stage depression are resistant to treatment, the researchers put forward the hypothesis that this type of depression could be linked to inflammation of the brain.
They noticed that inflammation is on average 30% higher in three brain areas among depressed people: the prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula. Thanks to brain scan biomarkers, we can now tell whether it would be better for a person to undergo medical treatment or psychotherapy.
Inflammation of the intestines
According to several studies, gastro-intestinal inflammation is another one of the main causes for the development of depression.
If gastro-intestinal inflammation is confirmed in a person suffering from depression, the doctor may potentially prescribe probiotics and recommend that they eat foods rich in vitamins B and D to treat this inflammation.
By eliminating the symptoms of the inflammation, the symptoms of depression should also disappear.
Recommendations for avoiding gastrointestinal inflammation and depression
Gastrointestinal inflammation could be due to intestinal dysfunction, considered by science to be our second brain, as it contains high levels of serotonin, the molecule involved in mood regulation.
Limit your consumption of sugar in order to avoid intestinal inflammation and depression, as well as high blood sugar levels, which could have a negative impact on your mood.
In fact, excessive consumption of sugary foods causes large quantities of glutamate to be secreted by the brain. Glutamate is linked to agitation, depression, anger, anxiety and panic attacks.
Vitamin D deficiency, or a lack of sunshine
According to a 2007 study, a deficiency in vitamin D could be responsible for the development of depression and anxiety in people with fibromyalgia.
In fact, they discovered that vitamin D deficiency predisposes people to depression. Try and get regular sun exposure – around 15 minutes a day should be enough to provide your skin with a minimal amount of vitamin D.
Lack of exercise or sport
The major drawback of antidepressants is their interminable list of side effects, and they should only be taken as a last resort.
Many scientists and doctors are in agreement: exercise is one of the best natural remedies for depression, as it releases endorphins, the ‘happy’ chemicals, in the brain. But exercise can also help the body to eliminate the protein Kynurenine, which is linked to depression.
Fatigue and sleep: linked to depression
It is important to sleep for 6 to 9 hours per night, to be in top form.
The link between depression and a lack of sleep has been confirmed. Rest well and listen to your body when you are tired. However, sleeping too much is likely to make depression worse, so don’t overdo it either!