Depression can turn into a serious mental condition, and because of that we should do everything that is in our power to prevent it.
In the past scientists defined it as a “chemical imbalance” in the brain; however there has been a new development on this issue depicting the real truth of this mental condition which turns out to be more serious than before.
The old theory of depression does not refer to the real root that causes depression. We are all different so it is not the same cause for every person. It was revealed that depression may be a result of chronic stress and inflammation. In addition to this, it was also found out that the health of the gut has a lot of to do with the occurrence of depression and other mood disorders.
The stomach has in its content over 400 species of bacteria, and not to mention the others that live on the skin. Each one of these bacteria has genes that outnumber the ones in all body cells. In fact the human gut encodes 3.3 million genes from the present bacteria and viruses.
The gut has a crucial role in the whole body and that is, protection against the harmful pathogens which have entered the digestive tract and not letting them to enter into the bloodstream.
Gut bacteria is also present in breast milk, therefore babies who are formula-fed are short of them thus being exposed to a higher risk of allergies and immune issues.These bacteria boost the immunity, affect the brain, and regulate the balance between health and illness.
Namely, bacteria are crucial for enhancing the effects of enzymes such assucrase, maltase, lactase, alkaline phosphatase, and alpha-glucosidase. Plus, they assist in the metabolism of cholesterol and triglycerides thereby maintaining stable blood pressure.
According to many studies the use of probiotics showed positive results in the treatment of depression and anxiety. According to the experts at the Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, probiotics show positive effects in the treatment of perceived stress, anxiety, and depression. They analyzed the results of 7 former studies performed on over 300 volunteers, and here are the findings from these studies:
“Interest in the gut-brain axis and emerging evidence that the intestinal microbiota can influence central nervous system function has led to the hypothesis that probiotic supplementation can have a positive effect on mood and psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety.”
Conclusively, they stated the following, quoting: “The meta-analysis showed that supplementation with probiotics resulted in a statistically significant improvement in psychological symptoms compared with placebo”.
The research has showed the positive benefits of the treatments with probiotics, but more researching needs to be done on this issue.
According to a released research at the National Academy of Science lactobacillus rhamnosus, a bacterium present in yogurt offers potential benefits in the case of anxiety and depression. The testing was done on mice, and the positive effects are a result of the action on the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system.
Furthermore, neurobiologists at the Oxford University found out that prebiotics show strong anti-anxiety effects because they can alter the way we process emotional information. The lead author of the study is the neurobiologist Dr. Philip Burnet, who in an interview for the Huffington Post stated the following, quoting:
“Prebiotics are dietary fibers (short chains of sugar molecules) that good bacteria break down, and use to multiply. Prebiotics are ‘food’ for good bacteria already present in the gut.
Taking prebiotics, therefore, increases the numbers of all species of good bacteria in the gut, which will theoretically have greater beneficial effects than [introducing] a single species.”
In the study participated 45 healthy adults in the age range of 18 to 45years old. These participants were divided in two groups, the first one received a prebiotic, and the second one a placebo in a period of three weeks. Experts analyzed their mental state via computer tests which processed their emotional information.
It was revealed that the participants who were on a prebiotic were less sensitive to negative information and experienced less anxiety than the others. Specifically, their saliva tests showed that they had decreased cortisol, which is a stress hormone linked to depression and anxiety.
As per the findings of Dr. Kirsten Tillisch:
“Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut. Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street.”
The psychological aspect was taken into consideration, and the well-known professor of psychiatry at University College Cork, Ted Dinan in Psychology Today released the following explanation:
“there are three basic mechanisms underlying the astonishing connection between these lowly microorganisms and our very personalities:
(1) Bacteria that live in the gut (or travel through it aboard some yogurt) are necessary building blocks in the production of neurochemicals there, like serotonin and dopamine.
(2) That impact on neurochemicals, in turn, has an effect on the secretion of stress hormones like cortisol. (3) Gut bugs also play a vital role in regulating the immune system and the inflammatory response it can launch when things go haywire. Inflammation is now widely considered to be one underlying cause of depression.”
For sure we can conclude that the health of the gut promotes the health of the mind as well.
The human body has a complex mental health which can be influenced by many factors such as stress, inflammation, and diseases. The diet takes a crucial role in the mental health; hence healthy dietary changes can make a great difference in diminishing the effects of these factors.
If you want to have a healthy gut, then you should avoid the intake of sugar, alcohol, and processed foods, and instead of these foods increase the intake of nuts, grains, fresh foods like fruits and vegetables, and legumes.
Make certain to consume probiotics, spices, and anti-inflammatory foods, and keep your body well hydrated. Likewise, you need to exercise on regular basis, have a good night sleep, manage stress, and if you need to use antibiotics, ensure to maintain the gut bacteria.
List of Foods and Drinks Packed with Probiotics and Prebiotics:
These foods can help you to prevent and control the depression and anxiety and that can be achieved with not such a great effort. Keep your mental health and thus enjoy a quality life.