Scientific findings have suggested that people suffering from mood disorders have higher levels of inflammatory molecules in their body. These molecules called cytokines have been shown to rocket during depressive episodes, and – in people with bipolar – to drop off in periods of remission. Healthy people can also be temporarily put into a depressed, anxious state when given a vaccine that causes a spike in inflammation.

The studies are not new. They were conducted in 2009. They are however among the growing evidence that emphasis the role of the immune system in mood disorders. So the question to ask is; Can depression be a simple an allergic reaction? YES, and NO.For example is is well documented that the use of anti-inflammatory oils (omega 3) has a direct effect in balancing low moods in individuals with skewed omega3/omega 6 fatty acids ratios. Also, Omega 6 oils which are high in industrial vegetable oils such as grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, corn and sunflower oils, as well as red meat are considered to be pro-inflammatory, when consumed in access. These industrial vegetable oils are also commonly used to prepare most processed foods and takeaways which might explain why depression has a higher clinical association in developed countries where such diets are prevalent.

It is also known for example that the an imbalance in the sex hormones affect mood.  Skewed ratio’s of estrogen and progesterone are directly tied into the experience of PMS. Which in turn is associated with inflammatory responses during menstruation. No wonder why most woman feel better imminently after the flow.

Further more it is known that inflammation is regulated by the immune system. For example elevated cytokines is a common feature of autoimmune diseases. The immune system’s role in responding to external factors, such as food, and toxic exposure is to drive inflammation in order to eliminate the substances that cause inflammation.

It is also well documented that inflammation is common phenomenal in cancer patients, who in turn have a higher incident of depression compared to other chronic diseases.

Conversely, from a purely psychological perspective, it is also known that stress itself can drive inflammation forward.  Stress responses, be they intimidate response to being chased by a bear in the wild, or chronic feelings of financial insecurity, relationship issues, anger or unresolved grief, trigger the nervous system to release cathecolamines; a group of molecules (neurotransmitters) that are associated with the fight and flight reactions. These molecules can have both pro-inflammatory as well as anti-inflammatory effects that are aimed at modulating the immune system during stress.

When it comes to auto immune disease, it is also known that there are certain psychological traits associate with recovery and recurrence. For example in Crohn’s disease a common phenomenal is an increased association of relapse in patients who tend to avoid managing the stress of their life.

So, let’s visit the question again, “Is depression be a simple allergic reaction?”
The answer is that depression is clearly associated with inflammatory responses, be they allergic in nature, dietary, hormonal, or psychological. But the causation is not linear. Which goes to restate the fundamental need for a mind-body approch in treatment of depression.

find out more about the connection between Mood Disorders and Autoimmune Reactions or Irritable Bowel Disease and Mood Disorders