Depression Is An Inflammatory Disorder

With all the gun violence in the world today, I can’t help but wonder how much our environment plays a role in the mass murders and senseless killing we hear about nearly daily.   

As I listened to the NPR reporter the other day focusing on the MOTIVE for the killer of innocent people, I felt annoyed— the motive didn’t matter as much as finding the upstream cause. The reporter was determined to understand why this person would do something so horrible rather than to focus on how we prevent this from happening several times a week in our country.

It is no secret that I am not a gun lover, not one bit. I realize that not all people who have guns choose to shoot and kill innocent people. We can question the motive, but the people who have lost their lives don’t come back just because the killing has been explained. The bigger question is why is this happening? Why does someone make this choice in the first place?

If you stand back and look at what is happening there are numerous causes for what is happening, and instead of turning this into a political discussion about gun control, I want to focus on what is happening to people’s brains. 

People’s brains are inflamed by our environmental exposure to pesticides, chemicals, microbial infections, and most importantly, food sensitivities. Our brains cells are particularly vulnerable to toxic insults, and some people are more susceptible than others. Neuro-inflammation is well documented and can be measured in serum blood tests. People who are vulnerable to neuro-inflammation can exhibit:

  • neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • a decrease ability to cope with stress
  • generalized anxiety disorders
  • panic attacks
  • insomnia (which results in less resilience in every area of one’s emotional and physical life)
  • fatigue
  • cognitive impairment
  • decreased motivation
  • easily irritated or angered
  • loss of impulse control
  • suicidal ideation.

Put a gun in someone’s hands with the above neuro-inflammatory symptoms, and we have an epidemic on our hands, which is what we are now seeing. 

When someone has a diet that is woefully inadequate to supply their body with important nutrients to keep their brain and immune system healthy, it is no surprise that their thinking can be unhealthy as well. Someone who has lived a life of unhealthy exposures or involuntary exposures (e.g. mold or chronic infections) is going to have greater tendency to depression, anxiety, mania, and even schizophrenia. For example, if someone has a genetic predisposition that increases their risk of being celiac, yet they eat gluten every single day, their brain suffers terribly. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity or celiac disease can be anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, agitation, brain fog, depression without any other physical manifestations. We tend to think about the gut and celiac, but the brain is equally damaged by gluten consumption.    

We also know that the gut has a direct highway to the brain. It has been demonstrated in animal studies that a poor microbiome in the gut can increase anxiety. When anxious rats are given probiotics, their anxiety scores go down.

One in ten Americans are now taking anti-depressant medications, and by 2030, it is estimated to be the leading cause of disability worldwide. 18% of the population has an anxiety disorder currently. Anti-depressant medication cannot be the answer for world wide depression. In fact, these medications are now being questioned as to their efficacy in treating depression. My hope is that we gain some perspective on this epidemic that allows us to look deeper than treating the symptom of depression and anxiety and look at what is causing such widespread neuropsychiatric symptoms in our culture.


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