It seems like everyone these days is experiencing their own battle with anxiety or depression to some extent. Whether it’s social anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or any type of depression, you’re not alone.
Even though anxiety and depression are common, it doesn’t mean it’s normal or healthy!
Let’s talk about what could be the root cause of anxiety so you can address it head-on. Simple changes in your daily life could have dramatic impacts on your health.
If you are tired of continually having to increase your anxiety medications, leaving you reliant on prescription medications, it’s time to have a deeper look into your lifestyle behaviors.
It may be time for a change.
What Does Anxiety Feel Like?
Anxiety can show up differently for everyone. It may look like panic attacks and like the room is closing in on them for some people, and for others, it may look like needing to check the doors and locks 5 times before leaving their house. It may even look like an inability to be un-busy for people who have high-functioning anxiety.
Anxiety may appear in different forms depending on the person.
Lack Of Concentration
Feeling Of Impending Doom
High-Functioning Anxiety Symptoms
Always having to be busy
Racing mind at bedtime
Deep dread of failure
Get to the Root Cause of Your Anxiety & Depression
Maybe you’ve experienced anxiety or depression your entire life, maybe it’s gotten worse, or perhaps it’s new to you, and it’s kind of freaking you out, to be honest.
Either way, one hidden root cause of your anxiety and/or depression could be inflammation.
While inflammation is necessary for wound healing over a short time frame, chronic inflammation could have serious consequences.
How to Know If You Have Elevated Inflammation
You can get functional lab testing performed to get your inflammatory markers checked. This is a great way to know for sure if your body is dealing with elevated inflammation and chaos.
In fact, high inflammatory markers, like inflammatory cytokines, are correlated with a high incidence of depression and anxiety. These inflammatory markers are thought to impact your brain and drive behavioral symptoms, like mood and anxiety-related disorders.
Avoid Certain Medications
Before taking medications to mask either your anxiety OR inflammation, get to the source of your inflammation to improve your mental health... for good!
Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can actually damage your overall health in the long run. Some can damage your gut, deplete your body of nutrients, and even make your symptoms worse rather than better!
Sources of Inflammation
Let’s say you find out your inflammatory markers are high... what should you do now?
First, it’s vital to know what factors could be contributing to your inflammation so that you can alter your lifestyle behaviors and reduce that inflammation in the first place.
Your inflammation most likely results from a number of factors, not necessarily one thing in particular. Since inflammation could be the root cause of anxiety, it's vital to see where this inflammation is coming from.
Inflammation could manifest from a combination of the following:
Poor diet (high diet in packaged & processed foods, low in fruits and vegetables)
Lack of exercise
Excess body weight
Genetic inflammatory bias
Exposure to psychosocial stress and/or trauma
Anxiety and Depression May Increase Inflammatory Markers
While elevated inflammation could contribute to your anxiety and depression, your mental health status could also be elevating your inflammatory markers. Chronic stress, worrying, and anxiety can increase inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-6 (IL-6). This is why mindset work and working on your thoughts should be a huge priority for you!
How to Reduce Inflammation & Anxiety
When you address these sources of inflammation head-on, you are eliminating those driving factors of your anxiety. So, the question is, how can you reduce inflammation throughout your body?
Here are my top recommendations.
Eat an Abundance of High-Nutrient, Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Anti-inflammatory foods should be a staple in your diet. Avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible. These often contain pro-inflammatory ingredients and toxins.
Instead, incorporate whole organic foods as the base of your meals.
Anti-inflammatory foods to include:
Turmeric (with black pepper!)
Capsaicin (found in chili peppers)
Food sensitivities could also be causing low-grade inflammation that you aren’t aware of. I run a food sensitivity test with all my health clients to investigate if there are foods that your unique body doesn’t quite agree with.
Prioritize Your Sleep
While a poor night’s sleep here or there may not be the driving force of your anxiety, constant sleep issues like problems falling asleep, tossing & turning, & not getting quality sleep could be a major factor contributing to your worsening anxiety and depression.
Focus on Managing Your Stress
Whether your inflammation is causing your anxiety or your anxiety is causing your inflammation, managing your stress can help both!
Your mind is your biggest tool in responding to stress. You may not be able to control every situation, but you can learn how you respond to stressful situations.
Here are some practical ways to learn how to manage your stress:
Deep Breathing Exercises
Fresh Air/ Getting outside in Nature
Journaling/ Keeping a Gratitude Journal
Find Underlying Infections
Underlying infections could be causing your inflammation without you even knowing it! This is why functional lab testing can be essential in truly addressing those elevated inflammatory markers and anxiety.
Opportunistic infections in the gut are more common than you may think! These can be driving your inflammation. But the good news is that they are typically easily managed once you know what's going on.
Ditch the Toxins
Companies and consumers alike aren’t taking toxins seriously. Yet, we know toxins can wreak havoc on bodily processes, increase inflammation, and lead to numerous health problems… including anxiety!
Swap out any products that include ingredients you can’t pronounce and replace them with non-toxic alternatives.
Don’t be surprised if you throw out everything but your kitchen sink! Unfortunately, most of the products on the shelves have at least one toxic ingredient listed.
You should swap your household cleaners, beauty products, get a water filter and buy organic foods to avoid pesticides.
Sometimes, personalized supplementation is recommended depending on your functional lab results. If you are deficient in vital nutrients, it could be contributing to your inflammation. Your body may also need some support in detoxing any toxin build-up within your body.
All of these things can help you on your way to reducing inflammation and getting your body and mind back to a healthy state. Not to mention that these can help your gut health, which can also improve your mental health!
Get to the Root Cause of Anxiety and Depression
If you want to get to the root cause of anxiety and wonder if your inflammatory markers are high, get in contact with me. I’m Jessica Meyers, and I’m a functional medicine expert and registered herbalist.
I use functional lab testing, personalization nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle recommendations to address the root cause of anxiety and depression. Fill out a new client application form to get started!