For a healthier mind, trust your instincts.
Typical treatments for depression and anxiety include prescription drugs and talk therapy, but new research has shown an unexpected treatment: powerful microbial doses. ‘the relationship between humans and bacteria is a profound symbiotic relationship,’ says Ted Dinan, an expert on biology and psychiatry at the University of Cork in Ireland.
The average human gut, about 1.5 kilograms of bacteria, is “absolutely necessary and produces the products our brains and other organs need,” he said. To a large extent, this is because bacteria contain unnecessary genes in humans. For example, some bifidobacterium strain has the “production of tryptophan mechanism”, this is a neurotransmitter (usually associated with Thanksgiving dinner error), other emotions, in the process of adjusting human body’s appetite and sexual desire.
No matter what the mental difficulties, there will be digestive disturbance.
Dinan and a colleague recently co-authored a study in the journal of psychiatric research that revealed the surprising findings of the intestinal flora of depressed people. “We took feces from people with depression and sequenced them,” he said. “we found that the diversity and richness of the depression was much lower. Using bacteria and the relationship between the emotional theory, and then they took away mice, knock out their microbiota with antibiotics, and through the feces transplantation to the mice a microbiota in patients with depression.
Dinan explained: “when mice get a microbiome of a depressed person, they become depressed, their physiology changes, and they form a pro-inflammatory phenotype. The rats did not change when the microbes were given to the non-oppressed.
Dr. Leslie Korn, a professor of integrative medicine and mental health at the harvard school of public health, said: “whatever the mental difficulties, there is digestive distress. “The brain is not always the cause of mental illness,” she says. More specifically, current research suggests that “low levels of inflammation in the body are the basis for depression, anxiety, and other mental and cognitive impairments.” Healthy bacteria “regulate the inflammatory process in the body”.
While there are many studies to determine which bacterial strains are most effective, lactobacillus (found in yogurt and fermented foods) and bifidobacteria are both shown to be beneficial for mental health. “One of the main functions of probiotics is to regulate body stress and anxiety,” Korn said. This is one of the reasons why overuse of antibiotics can be dangerous. When you eliminate your gut flora, it can also damage your mental health.
Jasmine Powers, a freelance marketing director in California who has battled depression for much of the past 36 years, says probiotics have greatly improved her life. Because the clinical depression was so severe that she couldn’t get up more than once, she was taken on antidepressants Zoloft and Prozac, but they gave her “terrible side effects”. So, she’s reading a completely different course and then connecting in the gut brain and adding probiotics to her diet. Eventually, she said, “I feel I can manage my life.” Powers has since incorporated talk therapy and better overall eating habits into his daily life.
One of the central functions of probiotics is to regulate the body’s stress and anxiety.
Another study, by dinan and colleagues, identified bacteria that appeared to reduce human anxiety. Dinan explained: “participants reported that they were anxious about the bacteria, not the placebo, and cortisol levels dropped.” This suggests that “this hypothetical schizophrenia does have anti-anxiety activity”.
Although there is no experts recommend using probiotics as a treatment for any mental illness alone drugs, of course also cannot as a substitute for treatment or medication, Korn, stressed that “if you improve digestion, I will ensure that your mental health improved.
For those who are just starting, Dinan suggest adding fiber and fish oil, these two are considered to form a healthy bacteria in the intestines “prebiotics,” as well as natural fermented foods that are rich in probiotics and yogurt. Don’t forget exercise, says Korn, it can move the digestive juices through the digestive tract – to the lower colon, which has more probiotics than anywhere else in the body.
Dinan urged us to eat all kinds of food. “The diversity of dietary intake is absolutely essential.”