Brain Over Fire

We are truly a whole person.  Functional MD’s like myself recognize how our body, minds, and spirits interact even though we don’t always understand fully the mechanisms.  Still, we appreciate when studies support what we practice on a daily basis.  This study looked at how cognitive behavioral therapy could lower inflammation and affect inflammatory messengers of our immune system.

Prolonged elevations of these inflammatory messengers raise the risk of chronic illnesses such as Alzheimers’s, heart disease, depression, anxiety, cancer, and more. The pharmaceutical world constantly searches for drugs to manipulate this system.  The functional world already applies multiple lifestyle and nutraceutical approaches to modify the inflammation.

In this study, multiple markers of inflammation were lowered with the pro-inflammatory immune messengers being the most altered.  They did not look at downstream diseases, but were optimistic that improvements in laboratory markers would lead to improvements down the road for these individuals.

In functional medicine, we know that we are interconnected whole persons.  It should be no surprise that helping patients to lower their perceived psychological stress would lead to lower inflammatory effects.  In helping our patients strive after the healthier more abundant life, we encourage things like prayer, meditation, counseling, and social interactions.  These were not studied here, but I am confident they are also helping to lower the same inflammatory markers.


Original Article

Grant S. Shields, Chandler M. Spahr, George M. Slavich. Psychosocial Interventions and Immune System Function. JAMA Psychiatry, 2020; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0431

Thanks to Science Daily

University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences. “Cognitive behavior therapy tops other psychotherapies in reducing inflammation.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2020. <>.


Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.

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