Inflammation and Depression

I recently found 33 new studies published in 2010, exploring the relationship of chronic systemic inflammation and depression. The large number of studies suggest that there is a widening acceptance that inflammation may be a common factor for neuro-degeneration leading to depression. [1] It is interesting that the observation of a link between the biochemistry of depression, immune disorder and dementia should be levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and DHEA/cortisol ratios. [2-5]  If overload of inflammation sets the stage for depression, it should come as no surprise that psychosocial experiences also generate pro-inflammatory cytokines.  Social rejection and the perception of an unjust work environment are just two of the social stressors that have been linked to production of cytokines. [6-8]  I expect that we will find that any chronic stressor creates inflammatory overload as the root cause of stress related disease. Naturally, the research community is starting to look at anti-inflammatory medications as a potential treatment for depression. [9]  Given their potentially lethal side effects, NSAIDS and Cox 2 inhibitors may be questionable additions to our psychological armamentarium.  But what if there were a safe and effective natural product that could reduce systemic inflammation?  Would that open the door for nutraceutical psychoactive foods in non-medical mental health practice?  There is a growing body of research that supports the fact that flavocoxid, a proprietary blend of Scutellaria, Acacia and Turmeric may drive down Cox 2 to healthy levels without stimulation lethal side effects. [10-19]

1.    Rook, G.A., 99th Dahlem conference on infection, inflammation and chronic inflammatory disorders: darwinian medicine and the ‘hygiene’ or ‘old friends’ hypothesis. Clin Exp Immunol, 2010. 160(1): p. 70-9.

2.    Zeugmann, S., et al., Inflammatory biomarkers in 70 depressed inpatients with and without the metabolic syndrome. J Clin Psychiatry, 2010. 71(8): p. 1007-16.

3.    Miller, A.H., Depression and immunity: a role for T cells? Brain Behav Immun, 2010. 24(1): p. 1-8.

4.    Maes, M., et al., Multiple aberrations in shared inflammatory and oxidative & nitrosative stress (IO&NS) pathways explain the co-association of depression and cardiovascular disorder (CVD), and the increased risk for CVD and due mortality in depressed patients. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry, 2010.

5.    Caraci, F., et al., Depression and Alzheimer’s disease: neurobiological links and common pharmacological targets. Eur J Pharmacol, 2010. 626(1): p. 64-71.

6.    Zaluska, M. and B. Janota, [Dehydroepiandrosteron (DHEA) in the mechanisms of stress and depression]. Psychiatr Pol, 2009. 43(3): p. 263-74.

7.    Elovainio, M., et al., Organisational justice and markers of inflammation: the Whitehall II study. Occup Environ Med, 2010. 67(2): p. 78-83.

8.    Slavich, G.M., et al., Neural sensitivity to social rejection is associated with inflammatory responses to social stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2010. 107(33): p. 14817-22.

9.    Muller, N., COX-2 inhibitors as antidepressants and antipsychotics: clinical evidence. Curr Opin Investig Drugs, 2010. 11(1): p. 31-42.

10.    Walton, S.M., G.T. Schumock, and D.A. McLain, Cost analysis of flavocoxid compared to naproxen for management of mild to moderate OA. Curr Med Res Opin, 2010. 26(9): p. 2253-61.

11.    Polito, F., et al., Flavocoxid, a dual inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2 and 5-lipoxygenase, reduces pancreatic damage in an experimental model of acute pancreatitis. Br J Pharmacol, 2010. 161(5): p. 1002-11.

12.    Pillai, L., et al., Flavocoxid, an anti-inflammatory agent of botanical origin, does not affect coagulation or interact with anticoagulation therapies. Adv Ther, 2010. 27(6): p. 400-11.

13.    Pillai, L., B.P. Burnett, and R.M. Levy, GOAL: multicenter, open-label, post-marketing study of flavocoxid, a novel dual pathway inhibitor anti-inflammatory agent of botanical origin. Curr Med Res Opin, 2010. 26(5): p. 1055-63.

14.    Levy, R.M., et al., Efficacy and safety of flavocoxid, a novel therapeutic, compared with naproxen: a randomized multicenter controlled trial in subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee. Adv Ther, 2010. 27(10): p. 731-42.

15.    Levy, R., et al., Efficacy and safety of flavocoxid compared with naproxen in subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee- a subset analysis. Adv Ther, 2010.

16.    Morgan, S.L., et al., The safety of flavocoxid, a medical food, in the dietary management of knee osteoarthritis. J Med Food, 2009. 12(5): p. 1143-8.

17.    Messina, S., et al., Flavocoxid counteracts muscle necrosis and improves functional properties in mdx mice: a comparison study with methylprednisolone. Exp Neurol, 2009. 220(2): p. 349-58.

18.    Levy, R.M., et al., Flavocoxid is as effective as naproxen for managing the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee in humans: a short-term randomized, double-blind pilot study. Nutr Res, 2009. 29(5): p. 298-304.

19.    Altavilla, D., et al., Flavocoxid, a dual inhibitor of cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase, blunts pro-inflammatory phenotype activation in endotoxin-stimulated macrophages. Br J Pharmacol, 2009. 157(8): p. 1410-8.

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