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Is Your Depression Caused by Inflammatory Foods?

By Lisa Egan / January 16, 2019

Excitotoxins disrupt the neuroendocrine system, triggering depression, scientists believe.

Is your depression caused by an inflammatory response? Could excitoxins in the diet in the form of MSG and aspartame be the culprits behind symptoms of depression, behavior disorders and even suicidal tendencies? Many scientists now believe that there is a link.

For example, a 2008 paper titled Inflammation, Glutamate, and Glia in Depression: A Literature Review notes that “Multiple lines of evidence suggest that inflammation and glutamate dysfunction contribute to the pathophysiology of depression.”

We’ve long known that what you eat can change our moods, and that poor diets have been blamed for bouts of depression ranging from temporary upsets to extreme depression. But now, science is linking to depression to inflammation, resulting from inflammatory food, which are triggering an immunological excitotoxic responses.

Retired Neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock made the case in his book Excitoxins: The Taste That Kills that food ingredients containing monosodium glutamate (MSG), free glutamate foods, aspartame and other excitoxins are contributing to chronic inflammation in the body, which is in turn contributing to a wide array of diseases and disorders, particularly degenerative disorders affecting the brain.

Check out his May 10th podcast episode where he discusses the case for depression as a result of inflammation, and what you can do about it by changing your diet and getting enough exercise and sleep:

From Dr. Blaylock’s May 10, 2014 podcast:

Recent scientific studies have discovered evidence linking depression and inflammation. On this week’s episode, Dr. Russell Blaylock explains how a person’s mood can be negatively influenced by the presence of inflammation in the body as well as dietary changes one can make to reduce this inflammation.

Free glutamates can trigger neuron death by overstimulating glutamate receptors in the brain, with the hypothalamus – which controls the neuroendocrine system and regulates such things as hormones, growth, diet and reproduction functions – particularly sensitive to exposure as it is located outside the blood-brain barrier. This further connects with the evidence linking depression and excitoxic inflammatory, as the connection between depression and imbalances in the hypothalamus – which regulates the pituitary and thyroid – has been solidly established by science.

Further reading:

Inflammation and Its Discontents: The Role of Cytokines in the Pathophysiology of Major Depression

From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain

Cytokines sing the blues: inflammation and the pathogenesis of depression

Inflammation, Depression and Dementia: Are they Connected?

Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills

Review of: Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills

About the author

Lisa Egan

Lisa Egan has been passionate about nutrition and fitness for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a minor in Nutrition. Lisa has managed two medically supervised weight control centers, worked as a personal trainer and wellness educator, and is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified Nutrition Coach. She is the owner of Lisa Egan Nutrition Coaching and the website All About Habits. Lisa enjoys helping people improve their health and is dedicated to keeping up with the latest research in nutrition science and behavior change psychology. You can contact Lisa via email at lmegan02@gmail.com.