I'm not sure there are many people who haven't referred to depression as a 'chemical imbalance'. This has been the popular idea spread by health professionals for almost two decades. It was originally introduced by scientist Joseph Schildkraut, who popularised the association of low levels of neurotransmitters with depression.
What if this hypothesis was incorrect? Well, at least the intent focus on the source of the 'symptom' was incorrect. Recent research is finally confirming what many have discovered on their own; depression starts in the gut, and it is inflammation that is the primary contributing factor.
Depression and bipolar are associated with decreased cortisol sensitivity; the stress hormone, which is also a buffer against inflammation; as well as elevated levels of cytokines. Cytokines are cell signalling molecules that mediate immunity and inflammation.
Dr Kelly Brogan, a physician and psychiatrist focused on holistic health, with extensive knowledge in this area: "Once triggered in the body, these inflammatory agents transfer information to the nervous system, typically through stimulation of major nerves such as the vagus, which connects the gut and brain. Specialized cells called microglia in the brain represent the brain's immune hubs and are activated in inflammatory states."
To start to resolve this inflammatory state and restore optimal gut health it is often necessary to use a combination of methods. As I mentioned in the comments of my last post, the best place to start is to eliminate grains, sugar, dairy, processed foods and eat non-GM. Increasing natural fats in your diet will also help to stabilise insulin, cortisol levels and thyroid function.
Adding tumeric, with it's anti-inflammatory mechanisms, will assist your body in stabilising and healing. Check out my recent tumeric post for more information.
Another key component is adding a natural pro-biotic in the form of fermented foods; they have a '..direct role in gut-to-brain communication via a beneficial shift in the intestinal microbiota itself'. Pictured here is coconut milk kefir, a living fermented food. It contains more beneficial strains of bacteria than kefir dairy alternatives; 32 different pro-biotics and antioxidants, and in it's living form is the strongest natural broad spectrum pro-biotic.
I will offer a disclaimer that you must avoid canned coconut milk products as the linings of the cans contain Bisphenol-A. If you are sensitive to Guar gum please also avoid this product; same goes for those on a FODMAP diet for the reason of managing fructose malabsorption. As with anything introduce the new food in isolation, listen to your body and monitor the affects. With practice this process will become an art with extreme accuracy.
Enjoy the weekend!