A study suggests that people with depression may experience elevated levels of inflammation, even if they take regular exercise and drink a sensible amount of alcohol.
People with depression may need a helping hand to minimise their risk of heart disease and diabetes, a new study suggests.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Centre in the US say that people with depression may not enjoy the full benefits of healthy behaviours such as physical activity and a moderate intake of alcohol.
It appears that depression may prevent some of the anti-inflammatory effects of these healthy habits, reducing their impact on a person’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.
Lead study author Dr Edward Suarez explained: “Our findings suggest depression not only directly affects an individual’s mental and physical health; it might also diminish the health benefits of physical activities and moderate alcohol consumption.
“This appears to be specific to inflammation, which we know increases the risk for heart disease, so our findings suggest that depression could be a complicating risk factor.”
The researchers made their discovery by looking at 222 healthy adults, 4.5 per cent of whom had depressive symptoms but were not receiving treatment.
While people who did plenty of physical activity tended to have lower levels of an inflammation-linked protein called C-reactive protein (CRP) than inactive participants, the researchers observed that those who were depressed saw no beneficial effect of exercise on their CRP levels.
Dr Suarez noted: “We’re not saying that exercise isn’t helpful for those with depression; what we saw is that depression has effects beyond what has previously been reported.”
Similarly, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption was only associated with lower CRP levels in men who were not depressed.
The findings, which are published in the journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity, suggest that as well as leading a healthy lifestyle, people with depression may need to take extra measures to reduce inflammation and minimise their risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
One potentially beneficial approach could be to use a food supplement such as AlphaGuard Plus, which contains a vast array of natural antioxidant nutrients and complexes, such as curcumin, grape seed extract and lycopene.
Antioxidants can help to control cell damage and inflammation and may boost the flow of blood to the heart, thereby helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.