Is Your Gut to Blame for Your Depression?

Your gut is more powerful than you think. It is so powerful, in fact, that what happens in your gut plays a significant role in how you feel and whether you experience emotional wellbeing or depression. A growing body of research shows that depression is, at least in part, linked to gut health.

According to the latest study in the field of the gut-brain axis and its role in depression, published in the medical journal, Nature Microbiology, certain bacteria and the substances they produce in the gut, are to blame for depression. The same researchers had previously discovered that low bacterial counts and a low bacterial diversity were implicated in Crohn’s disease. In their latest research they found a similar situation among depressed individuals with a low quality of life.

They explored how over 500 types of bacteria interact with the human nervous system, as well as the bacteria’s ability to produce compounds that affect the nervous system. Labelling these compounds that can affect the human nervous system, “neuroactive,” the researchers found many bacteria exhibit the ability to produce compounds that have an effect, for better or worse, on our emotional wellbeing. For example, they found some bacteria could create a compound known as DOPAC, which is a metabolite of the brain neurotransmitter known as dopamine, typically linked with reward and a better quality of life.

Earlier research found that depression is increasingly linked to underlying inflammation. Compounds known as cytokines are released into the blood or tissues as part of the body’s attempt to heal the disease although they are destructive to healthy cells. Cytokines are cell-signaling, hormone-like molecules that encourage cellular communication in immune responses as well as stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma. Cytokines may affect the cell from which it originated, nearby cells or produce effects throughout the whole body, such as with fevers.

Some probiotic bacteria seem to lower the negative immune system com­pounds cytokines. And, since the majority of inflammatory conditions start in the gut, restoring gut health is critical to addressing depression.

In another study published in the Hungarian journal Ovosi Hetilap, Hungarian scientists found that intestinal inflammation is one of the factors involved in depression and that treating the inflammation with probiotics along with vitamins B and D and Omega 3 fatty acids reduced depressive symptoms.

Still other researchers found that the probiotics Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 quelled psychological stress, depression, anger-hostility and anxiety in humans, as well as improved problem solving skills when the probiotics were taken daily for thirty days.

While our understanding of how the gut affects our emotional wellbeing is still in its early stages, increasing amounts of research support the link and improving our gut microbiome for improved wellbeing.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, founder of Scentsational Wellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life. Follow her work.

 

60 comments

Frances G
Frances G10 days ago

Thank you

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Greta L
Greta L26 days ago

Thanks

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Jan S
Jan S26 days ago

Many thanks

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Marija M
Marija M26 days ago

tks very much for sharing.

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Leo C
Leo Custer26 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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heather g
heather g27 days ago

And with that, I reached for my Probiotics

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Angela K
Angela K27 days ago

noted

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Christine Stewart

There is a company coming out with a probiotic for dogs to help with anxiety- I hope it will work!

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Colin C
Colin C27 days ago

I have read before about how our gut can influence our emotions, more research is of course needed.

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Shae L
Shae Lee27 days ago

thanks for sharing.

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