The Link Between Gut Bacteria and depression
You have trillions bacterial cells in your gut, which makes up your unique microbiome. The role of these cells goes beyond giving you nourishment and keeping pathogens at bay. They also control how your brain functions.
Stress causes your body to go through a series of changes in which all energy is directed towards the brain and muscles. Stress also releases cortisol, which negatively impacts the gut microbiome.
The health of your gut can also influence your mental health because your gut bacteria play a big role in anxiety and stress. A balanced microbiome can boost stress resilience, but an imbalance microbiome can cause anxiety and depression.
Depression is a mood disorder that lasted for at least 2 weeks with a range of symptoms. Irritability, feeling of anger and sadness, helplessness, and guilty are all symptoms of depression. One factor thought to contribute to depression and mental health issues, more generally, is the gut-brain axis.
The role of gut health in depression
Have you ever had a “gut-wrenching” experience? Or perhaps felt “butterflies” in your stomach? It’s your gut-brain connection. Your GI tract is sensitive to emotions. Sadness, anger. Elation, anxiety and depression can trigger symptoms in the gut.
The brain has a direct effect on the intestine and stomach, and this goes both ways. Just as a troubled brain can communicate with the gut if it is in distress, so can the intestine. This means intestinal or stomach distress can occur as a result or product of anxiety, stress, or depression.
Probiotics and depression
Probiotics are live bacteria and/ or yeast culture that naturally lives in your body. These good bacteria help keep your body healthy. They are especially beneficial to your digestive system. Probiotics are also found in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are all species of probiotics, and they support your whole body and improve mental health, too.
According to a recent revies, probiotics can help reduce depression symptoms by combining probiotics and prebiotics or by taking probiotics alone. Probiotics help support overall health and wellness by keeping the microbiome healthy and by preventing gut imbalances. In this way, the beneficial bacteria can thrive. Just like you, the beneficial bacteria in your gut also need foods. Prebiotics are food substances found in plant-based foods. They serve as foods for probiotics. The prebiotics fiber known as polyphenols are resistant starches that nourishes the beneficial bacteria in the gut.