Inflammation Can Cause Adverse Behavior and Mental Illness

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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It has always been thought that stress is inflammatory, which it is. It was therefore concluded that the increased inflammation present in any person with stressed-out behavior or mental illness was a result of the stress. New research says that it is just as possible that the stressed-out behavior and even mental illness is caused by inflammation1, not the result thereof. It is a chicken and egg scenario wherein either is possible. It’s most likely that both will play off each other to make a bad situation worse.

There can be an inflammatory gene weaknesses in a person’s family history. There can be inflammatory epigenetic gene settings programmed into ones nerves in the womb or early in life from instability, malnutrition or excessive junk food. There can be inflammatory environmental or adverse relationship “training” at any time in life.  Immunizations are highly inflammatory to the brain on purpose.  Pollution is inflammatory.  Excessive alcohol, many medications, and street drugs are inflammatory.  Chronic pain is inflammatory.  An acute illness is inflammatory. Emotional loss is inflammatory. Financial stress is inflammatory.A poor quality diet is inflammatory. A lack of sleep is inflammatory. Physically doing too much is inflammatory. The contents of your digestive tract are often highly inflammatory. The potential sources of inflammation that can either mold gene settings or activate gene weaknesses are quite numerous. 

Scientists have now proven that inflammation can indeed cause impulsive behavior with a lack of self-direction and problem solving.The fact that the same inflammation in a higher level can cause bipolar, schizophrenia, or suicidal ideation is a major breakthrough, in understanding the source of potential mental problems.

Managing any of the above issues better will reduce your cumulative inflammation burden. Thankfully there are many nutrients that are anti-inflammatory in nature. Often we think of these for healing the physical body. It appears they may be just as important for healing the mind.

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Infllamation as a Cause of Behavioral Problems and Mental Illness  Psychoneuroendocrinology,  Petra Suchankova, Fariba Baghaei, Roland Rosmond, Göran Holm, Henrik Anckarsäter, Agneta Ekman

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