Chronic inflammation is the reason behind many illnesses including mental illnesses and several mood disorders. Chronic inflammation or silent inflammation doesn’t heal the body, it only destroys it from the inside, and your brain can also be affected by this systemic and uncontrolled inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation of the brain can lead to brain fog, depression, inability to focus, and constant fatigue. Brain could be indirectly affected by inflammation in the rest of the body, for example, in your gut, inflammation in the gut is known to cause inflammation in the brain, and in other words puts your brain on fire without you even realizing it.
Researchers are not wrong in calling your gut your second brain, just like your brain, your gut has no pain fibers, and serotonin is majorly produced in the intestines, which is our feel good hormone. The leaky gut syndrome releases a protein Zonulin, it opens up the intestinal tight junctions that are supposed to be closed to protect the gut. Due to the leaky gut condition this protein can release from the gut and circulate throughout the body, and it can cause a leaky brain, too. Zonulin is also released due to bacterial overgrowth in the intestines and a yeast infection in the gut. Hence, Zonulin is produced as a result of inflammation in the gut.
If this inflammatory protein travels up to your brain, it can cause an inflammatory response there, this will activate the immune cells of the brain, known as the glial cells. Once this chronic inflammation is activated, it can lead to many brain disorders, mental illnesses and mood disorders. Not only this, this inflammation of the brain can also hamper brain’s communication with the other important glands in the body, such as Thyroid and Adrenal glands. Gluten sensitivity and other food allergies can also lead to inflammation in the gut, so you must get checked for these food sensitivities.
Poor sleeping habits and chronic stress can also cause inflammation of the gut and subsequently the brain. Many studies have linked depression and mood disorders to chronic or silent inflammation, one such study found that patients with major depressive disorders had higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The process of inflammation releases cytokines, these cytokines are required to fight flu and other infections in healthy individuals. But, chronic inflammation produces these cytokines in excess, and this can affect your brain and lead to several mood disorders. These pro-inflammatory cytokines also have a degrading effect on serotonin, the feel good hormone in our body.
So, what is causing this silent inflammation in our gut? As we have discussed in many posts before, lack of exercise, poor eating habits, stress, nutritional deficiency, and most importantly lack of Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet can all lead to inflammation in our bodies. Without understanding the core issue recovery is less likely in mood disorders, and the core issue seems to be lying in our eating habits and lifestyle.
Go out there, work out, soak in vitamin D, eat whole foods and improve your sleeping habits. Eat oily fish for Omega-3 fatty acids, the super spice turmeric has many anti-inflammatory properties, drinking green tea is also beneficial in curbing inflammatory reactions in the brain.