New Study Suggests Role Of The Gut Is Important In Treating Depression
Why Is Depression Such A Crucial Topic For Discussion?
When someone discusses issues regarding improper mental health, depression is a common
topic that is taken as a top priority, what is the reason behind? What causes depression and
the role of gut in treating depressive disorders?
Depression in medical terms is often defined as a mood disorder that makes an individual
feel constant sadness or lack of interest in life. Disruptive behavior interferes with normal
social activities, interests, schoolwork, or family life and it may also be signs of another
problems. According to various research and study, depression is one of the leading causes
of disability worldwide. It has been estimated that 1 in 5 people will experience depression
during their lifetimes. About 85 percent of people experiencing a first episode of depression
will deteriorate their condition in the upcoming years.
So, what are the major treatments associated with depression? How can it be dealt with?
While cognitive therapy and anti-depressants that are mainly responsible in the release of
serotonin can be effective treatments for depression. Though these treatments don’t work
for more than a third of depressed patients who have severe anxiety attacks and stress
hovering over them.
Some recent theories of depression suggest that an imbalance in gut microbiota and
dysfunction in the axis connecting the gut and the brain may be involved. Let’s get to know
more on this topic.
The Role Of Gut Microbiota In An Individual’s Mental Health
The gut is the largest organ in the human body and contains billions of organisms in often
termed as gut microbiota. According to proper studies, about 90 to 95 percent of the cells in
the gut are considered to be microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and so on. A
healthy balance of all these microorganisms is essential for both an individual’s mental and
Unfortunately, aspects of modern life such as high stress, processed food, antibiotics,
pesticides, and sanitized, urban environments have decreased both the amount and
richness of healthy gut microbiota, and replacing it with a greater number of unhealthy
microorganisms that effect both mental and physical health.
Some of the latest theories in the field of clinical study suggest that gut
microbiota imbalance could play a major role in depressive disorder. Depressed patients
generally show a low profile of gut microbiota from those of the healthy people. Their gut
microbiota are considered to be less diverse and less rich when compared to those of
Role Of The Gut In Terms Of Mental Health
Studies conclude that there is bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain in
our body system. The human gut is lined with more than 100 million nerve cells, which is
more than what is present in the spinal cord or in the peripheral nervous system.
And it is not wrong to say that humans have brain cells in their large intestines. It is often
referred to as our second brain. Pretty comical but the facts are true. This concept explains
the reason behind antibiotics that disturb the gut microbial ecosystem might cause
neuropsychiatric effects, interact with psychotropic medications, and influence one’s mood.
There are also various reasons which explains why mood disorders are so prevalent in
patients with irritable bowel syndrome or any other gut disorders.
There are certain chemicals that are released during a state of depression and help release
hormones that are responsible for imparting happiness. One of these being serotonin are
produced majorly in the gut. Research have proven than almost 90 percent of serotonin is
manufactured in the digestive tract and not the brain. Most antidepressants have a similar
application. They work by increasing levels of serotonin in our body.
Scientists have found that gut bacteria have various abilities that causes changes in our
brains, it determines how our brain reacts in certain types of situations. They do so by
producing other neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and
gamma-aminobutyric acid which are crucial for various mood changes, including, stress,
anxiety, depression, sadness, motivation and more.
What Are The Various Treatments For Gut Microbiota Imbalance?
There are various kinds of treatments regarding depression, therapy, surgery, clinical
procedural and many more. But recently new treatments have been coming out that are
designed mainly to regulate gut microbiota in our systems.
These treatments have shown some success in animal studies and preliminary human
studies and are developing further in order to provide the best gut treatment for us in cases
Probiotics were earlier used in animal studies to reduce inflammatory cytokines. And now
these are used for treatment of people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders.
According to a study conducted a few years ago. Some depressed volunteers were given a
daily probiotic supplement that included Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria for a
duration of 30 days. At the end of the duration, there were reduced symptoms of
psychological distress, that primarily included depression and anxiety which was concluded
to be a major success. Moreover, in addition to supplements, fermented foods like yogurt
and pickles contain probiotics and are also more natural ways of consuming it, the
effectiveness of such probiotics are also claimed to be successful.
2. Omega-3 supplements
There have been various researches regarding the effectiveness of omega-3 supplements.
Whether it is beneficial to the gut or not. Whether it affect the composition of gut
microbiota and increase the production of anti-inflammatory compounds, or not.
And all of these researches came to a conclusion that gut microbes, fatty acids, and
immunity can act together to maintain the integrity of the intestinal wall and reduce leaky
gut. Certain medical studies have shown that omega-3 supplements can be helpful in most
cases of depression. Natural sources include fish.
Almost every day, new theories regarding depression and the role of a leaky gut, the gut
microbiota, and dysfunction of the gut-brain axis are getting clearer. Though the research is
in the preliminary phase, results have been pretty positive when it came to probiotics and