Starting around midlife your doctor may prescribe a C-reactive protein test to help assess your risk of heart disease. Elevated C-reactive protein (or CRP) levels indicate systemic inflammation in the body. Now new research done in Denmark finds that people with high levels of C-reactive protein are more likely to suffer from psychological distress and depression.
The study, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, examined medical data of more than 73,000 Danish adults and found that people with elevated CRP levels were more likely to have taken antidepressants and to have been hospitalized for depression. (CRP levels higher than 10 mg/L are generally thought to indicate inflammatory disease.)
Although this research is preliminary, it's exciting to think that it may open up a new avenue for researching the treatment of depression. In the future, maybe anti-inflammatory medications will be part of depression treatment, and maybe knowing that people with inflammatory disease are at greater risk of depression will lead to interventions to help prevent depression.
And whether you're depressed or not (and I really hope you're not!) this research might be a good reminder to eat anti-inflammatory foods, like yellow and purple potatoes, curcumin (found in turmeric) and these dementia-preventing foods that contain a natural anti-inflammatory called luteolin.
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