THE GUT AND PSYCHE – A CONNECTION?
The gut, or more precisely its bacterial flora, might have a connection with the mind. Belgians made this discovery while exploring the microorganisms of our rich inner world, and found that having a low number of these important bacteria is problematic.
Scientists analyzed the bacterial composition of 2000 stool samples. Some patients reported having depression, and interestingly enough there proved to be a correlation.
Those with depression had very little coprococcus and dialister bacteria, regardless of whether they took antidepressants or not. For those who did not have mood disturbances, bacteria was present in normal levels.
Moreover, those with depression also had too much bacteria associated with inflammation (see, for example, Crohn’s Disease).
Then scientists studied the genomes of 500 different intestinal bacteria and their ability to produce neurotransmitters. It turns out there are many neuroactive compounds produced in the intestines, and they affect the psyche in different ways.
For example, coprococcus (which is absent in those with depression) can produce the so-called “dopamine neurotransmitter metabolite”.
Simply put, bacteria can improve mood through dopamine.
They also produce butyrate, which is an anti-inflammatory compound. And it’s already known, in some cases, that depression correlates with inflammatory processes in the brain.
That’s what happens. At the conscious level, you can find all kinds of reasons that you may have depression, but it may very well be possible that your “butyrate factory” has broken down.
This Belgian study is even more valuable insofar that this intestine/brain relationship wasn’t first studied on animals.
It’s too early to surmise a direct communication, but connection clearly exists.
THE GUT AND INFLUENZA?
Now, it is fashionable to have a fecal microbiota transplantation. There is evidence of its effectiveness in treating dangerous brain disease, not to mention the intestines themselves.
In general, bacteria’s role has been revised to a more helpful one. They prevent cardiovascular problems and even the flu.
They can still be harmful as well, however. Bacteria provoke autoimmune disorders and can interfere with cancer treatment.
Either way, you have to deal with them.
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