Maintaining a healthy digestive system, including a healthy probiotic mix may well be a key in helping prevent and controlling depression. Most of us are familiar with the term gut feeling, however, this saying may be more apt than we realise. In recent years, research has increasingly identified the role the gut can have on mood and behaviour, leading many scientists to refer to the gut as the “second brain”.
In a study in the Gastroenterology researchers at McMaster University in Canada found that bacteria residing in the gut influences brain chemistry and behaviour. This research is important because several common types of gastrointestinal disease are frequently associated with anxiety or depression and vice versa. In addition there is evidence that ADHD and autistic spectrum imbalances are associated with an abnormal bacterial content in the gut; notably the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
Working with healthy adult mice, the researchers found that disrupting the normal bacterial content of the gut with antibiotics produced changes in behaviour; the mice became more cautious and anxious. This change was accompanied by an increase in brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which has been linked to depression and anxiety. When oral antibiotics were discontinued, bacteria in the gut returned to normal and it was reported that there was “restoration of normal behaviour and brain chemistry.”
The results lay the foundation for investigating the therapeutic use of probiotic bacteria in the treatment of behavioural disorders, particularly those associated with gastrointestinal conditions. Poor gut function seriously impacts not only physical health but also brain function and often relates to deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
The gut is home to several trillion bacteria and also contains around 100 million nerve cells (neurons), more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system! Neurons in the gut also use serotonin, the hormone that creates calmness and a sense of well-being to signal back to the brain; 95% of all serotonin in the body is in the gut, where it triggers digestion. Nerve cells in the gut also use serotonin to signal back to the brain.
Abnormal gut flora will produce toxins which will flow through damaged gut wall into the blood and get distributed around the body and into the brain, eventually affecting mood, learning, concentration, memory and perception.
Bearing the above in mind, be conscious of what you put in your gut and maintain a high good probiotic level as it may well improve your mood as well as your digestive health!
A Full Health MOT will rebalance your body, and test your probiotic status as well as vitamin, mineral and Essential fats deficiencies. Call Gail on 01249 818758