The researchers found that untreated depression hindered the anti-inflammatory effects of moderate alcohol consumption and exercise. Participants who were physically active generally had lower CRP levels, with the exception of those who were depressed, who saw no beneficial effect on CRP levels.
In addition, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption was associated with lower CRP, but only in men who were not depressed. Men with symptoms of depression did not see the benefits of light-to-moderate alcohol consumption. Depression did not make a statistically significant difference among women who consumed light to moderate amounts of alcohol, nor those who didn't drink or only drank infrequently.
"This is a novel finding, and it seems to be specific to inflammation as measured by CRP," Suarez said, given that depression did not affect other health markers such as fasting triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Although preliminary, Suarez said the study could guide health care providers on how best to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In addition to traditional recommendations to increase physical activity and adhere to a Mediterranean diet that includes alcohol consumption, clinicians may also need to consider the mental state of their patients and specifically the presence of depressive symptoms.
This combined approach could be especially beneficial for primary care providers, who are in a good position to both screen for depressive symptoms and measure CRP and cardiovascular risk. Early intervention and perhaps more aggressive treatment for depression may benefit patients who do not see the benef
|Contact: Rachel Harrison|
Duke University Medical Center