Inflammation and Depression: The Ignored Link

Published on: September 15, 2022

In this episode, Nicole Chenard, MS, RD, LDN explores the often ignored link between inflammation and depression. The COVID-19 pandemic uniquely impacted our ability to work, gather, and communicate, and subsequently heightened feelings of fear, anxiety, and loneliness. While many medical professionals have turned to prescribing anti-depressants to treat these symptoms, Nicole dives into reasons why this may not be an effective first approach for everyone. 

Fear, stress, and anxiety can stimulate an inflammatory response in the body, and the solution may not lie in pharmaceutical prescriptions, but in activities we can plan to do every day, like eating an anti-inflammatory diet and planning consistent physical activity, to help alter our body’s pH and our nervous systems. Tune in this week to learn how to take steps to notice and decrease inflammation in YOUR body today.

Keywords: Inflammation, fear, anxiety, depression, emotion, COVID-19, pandemic, physical activity, exercise, PTSD, stress, isolation, cytokines, anti-inflammatory, diet, mood, mental health, neuropeptide-Y, serotonin, body, nutrition, wellness, connection, medicine, military, athlete, nervous system

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Referenced Research:

  • “Move the Body, Heal the Mind” Dr. Jennifer Heisz
  • Blog and podcast episode referenced (amygdala)
  • Allison, D., Nederveen, J., Snijders, T., Bell, K., Kumbhare, D., Philips, S., Parise, G., and Heisz, J.J. (2019). Exercise training impacts skeletal muscle gene expression related to the kynurenine pathway in older men. American Journal of Physiology: Cell Physiology.
  • Lucibello, K., Parker, J., and Heisz, J.J. (2019). Examining the impact of chronic training on the state anxiety response to an acute bout of aerobic exercise in low and high anxious individuals. Journal of Affective Disorders, 247, 29-35.
  • Paolucci, E., Loukov, D., Bowdish, D.M.E., and Heisz, J.J. (2018). Exercise reduces depression and inflammation but intensity matters. Biological Psychology, 133, 79-84.
  • Heisz, J. J., Tejada, M.G.M., Paolucci, E.M., and Muir C. (2016). Enjoyment for High-Intensity Interval Exercise Increases during the First Six Weeks of Training: Implications for Promoting Exercise Adherence in Sedentary Adults. PLOS ONE,11(12): e0168534.
  • Paolucci, E., and Heisz, J.J. (2015). Investigating the protective effects of high and moderate intensity cycling on psychological stress and depression in young adults. Journal of Exercise, Movement, and Sport. 47(1).
  • Schmeltzer SN, Herman JP, Sah R. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A translational update. Exp Neurol. 2016 Oct;284(Pt B):196-210. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.06.020. Epub 2016 Jul 2. PMID: 27377319; PMCID: PMC8375392.

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