Can gut bacteria cause depression?
About 75% of the body’s neurotransmitters are produced in the gastrointestinal tract, and they are in direct communication with the brain. Because of this, the health of your gut—and the trillions of bacteria that live there—is tightly linked to your brain function and your mental health. Research suggests gut bacteria is so powerful it can cause depression and anxiety and can also be used to treat clinical depression and other conditions of emotional instability.
Good Bugs vs. Bad Bugs
Some gut bacteria are beneficial to your health and well-being while others are harmful. These bugs are all trying to take control of your microbiome. When the ratio of good bugs to bad bugs is about 85 percent good guys to 15 percent troublemakers, it creates a healthy gut. When the ratio is tipped the other way, the bad bugs cause trouble and can lead to physical and mental problems.
If the good bugs are deficient, you are more likely to feel anxious, stressed, depressed, and tired.
In some people, imbalances in gut bacteria contribute to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract becoming porous. Known as leaky gut, this condition is associated with mood and anxiety disorders, ADD/ADHD, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. Leaky gut is also linked to chronic inflammation, along with a host of other issues from autoimmune diseases (such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and multiple sclerosis) and digestive issues (gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea) to seasonal allergies and skin problems (acne, rosacea).
The Link Between Bacteria and Depression
Researchers at Northeastern University and Cornell Medical College have been investigating the link between gut bacteria and mental health, and in particular, to clinical depression. Fecal samples from people who had been diagnosed with depression had fewer bacteria of a particular genus called Bacteroides.
These bacteria produce the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps calm the brain and prevent it from over-firing. People with low levels of GABA are more likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
Treating Depression with Bacteria
For the last 30 years in my Naturopathic Medical practice, we have been using combinations of beneficial bacteria containing Bacteroides and other deficient micoflora, as well as the necessary catecholamine precursors or neurotransmitter therapy treatments needed to balance our patients with mental/emotional imbalance with great efficacy.
Our patients are able to completely overcome depression and regain emotional and mental well-being.
If you’re suffering from depression and aren’t responding to treatment, it may be time to think about your gut health as well as a personalized holistic approach to your life.
Schedule your appointment with Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff today: