Recently, Dr. Mercola posted an article on the link between sugar and mood disorders. In the past few months, I presented a series to practicioners on the connection of mood disorders to a variety of systemic imbalances. The topics included hormonal dysfunction, inflammation, malaborsption of nutrients, permeability of the gastrointestinal mucosa, acid-base balance, and neurotransmitter imbalance. As you can see, mood disorders can arise from a variety of issues, sugar consumption is one piece of the puzzle that can be linked to creating nutritional gaps and increasing inflammation in the body.
I encourage you to read my 3 part series on mood imbalances at my website. These blogs also provide references for studies on the newer concepts widely accepted and utilized in integrative medicine.
Highlight on the Role of Inflammation and Mood Disorders:
in 2002, the Molecular Psychiatry Journal stated that “neurodegenerative diseases correlate with the existence of a local ongoing inflammatory reaction.” Furthermore, in the 2008 edition of the Neuro Clinical Endocrinology Letters, the authors concluded that pro-inflammatory cytokines and were linked to depression and that these cytokines were thought to be a result of gastrointestinal permeability from translocated microbes. This journal was one of many which linked the gut as the cause of immune imbalance creating systemic inflammation.
A leading immunology researcher, Aristo Vojdani, PhD, traced the pathway between mucosa permeability of the gut to mood disorders. He postulated that mucosal degeneration in the gastrointestinal tract resulting from various toxins, food sensitivities, genetics, and environmental factors, triggers systemic release of partially digested foods and microbes. This causes the immune system to attack these foreign invaders. The result is systemic inflammation causing a break in the blood brain barrier, creating neurodegeneration and brain disorders.
The gastrointestinal tract has a few very important links to immune function. First of all houses powerful immune regulators called probitoics which fight off infections and help with detoxification and absorption of nutrients. Also, it is in charge of producing various immune cells from its gastrointestinal associated lymphoid tissue, called the GALT. It is also directly related to mood disorders for the fact that serotonin is mostly produced in the gut, over 95% in fact by some estimates.
Therefore, one of the first places I start with a mood disorder is looking at the gastrointestinal tract. This will lead me to investigate every area mentioned above for a complete, individualized, whole body approach to mood imbalances.