Here is some simple biochemistry that you will understand that explains how the American Diet creates actual real honest to goodness depression. Not the kind that is all in your head, but this depression is at the very core of our humanity, our nerves. Let’s give this a shot. Feel free to stop me if I’m confusing you.
First we need to understand that we are looking at depression as a response to cellular inflammation. After all, we are just a whole bunch of cells. Let’s look at something you are familiar with related to an inflammatory disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. Females tend to have more of it. They get more of all kinds of autoimmune diseases than males. Although fat men get a lot of it. Fat men tend to get more hormonally feminized compared to lean men. Having the genes for R.A. is important as well as being stressed out. Infective agents are also part of the equation and you don’t have to have a fever, which makes it confusing to realize that you are being infected and living with low grade chemistry of infection.
It is time to digress to make sense of what I just wrote. The typical American diet of Fast Food, doughnuts, cakes, cookies, bread, cereal, etc. creates a deficiency of Magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D and probiotic bacteria. The sugar, flour, increased Omega 6’s and Trans Fats, affect the bacteria in our gut. This bacteria is vital for our good health. Modern Medicine has a war against this bacteria and you wind up buying more modern medicines. The increased junk food creates a decreased amount of vital nutrients, which creates a big increase in absorbed endotoxins from your gut. The result of that poor gut biochemistry creates NFkB a very strong inflammatory chemical that is present in chronic inflammatory diseases also known as autoimmune disease.
Lets drill this home. Following a hypercaloric challenge, that means you ate a lot of sugar, the support cells of the hypothalamus become reactive ( reactive means pro inflammatory state)and remain that way during diet induced obesity. So as long as you are fat, you are creating some very sick biochemistry that is not only affecting whatever area you are plagued with it, it could be joints, intestines, Lupus, etc. but also affecting your nervous system which affects every aspect of you, of who you are. Said another way, when you are obese, you are living in an autoimmune state. Autoimmune disease is now over 100 different ailments and it is one of the biggest problems being seen in a doctor’s office.
Lean adipose tissue contains a high amount of IL-10 which are highly anti inflammatory immune cells. When the adipose tissue becomes filled with fat, the IL-10’s disappear. We now have no more immune defense. However, we get a lot of pro inflammatory T Cells to take their place. These types of T cells usually appear with cancer and viral infections. We see other aspects of our immune system destroyed in the same manner, such as our macrophages. They stop making adiponectin a very strong anti inflammatory. We need that stuff for proper insulin sensitivity. It’s not just all the sugar that we are eating that is creating the super epidemic of diabetes. When we lose these anti inflammatory macrophages they are replaced with IL-6, TNFalpha, which are pro inflammatory macrophages that make cytokines, that create strong inflammation responses. We also see an increase in resistance to Leptin which is a strong sugar modulating hormone.
So, a lot of stuff is happening inside our bodies when we over eat. The term is now called adiposopathy. It creates a low grade autoimmune state.
However, relevant to our discussion of depression, it also does something else that is just as mean and rotten. Pro inflammatory cytokines cause the amino acid Tryptophan which is an essential precursor to serotonin to go down a pathway that will not lead to the production of our happy hormone serotonin. With less serotonin released into the synaptic junctions and also more rapidly taken up because, let’s face it we are not healthy in the biochem department, we end up with less serotonin in the cleft to get to the other neuron to make that recipient happy. We know this state as depression.
We also know that we have lots of drugs to affect this part of the nerve junctions. They are called SSRI’s such as Prozac, Paxil, etc. These selective serotonin release inhibiting drugs keep the little bit of serotonin that your obese body feebly managed to squeeze out in the clefts longer, long enough to make you happy. Do you have to be obese to be in a chronic state of inflammation? Nay Nay. But it certainly helps.
I have to be a little more mean than usual. We are a nation on psychotropic drugs, because we are on junk food. No leaders are stepping up to the plate and saying, come on America, stop eating all that junk. Look at yourselves, you need to take strong medications to counteract that donut. Nope, they’re not going to say that, so I will. The junk food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the American Medical Association are not your friends. They want you suffering because they suffer less when you are suffering because you are buying their stuff. This is not a good place to be, in a place where you trust the experts. They trust you to keep eating yourself into disease states. You need to trust yourself, that you could get better if you were to just start eating differently. Of course if you have severe depression, just eating better is not going to be the proper way to go. I’m not telling you to stop taking medication, you better not. But if American World War II prisoners of war that developed schizophrenia because of their malnourishment could recover after just a little good food, you might want to consider eating better. It couldn’t hurt, but an expert would probably say otherwise. They might say you need to eat more enriched flour, aka junk food, what might have got you here in the first place.