Let’s face it, if you suffer with depression… or even just a slight case of the blues… or anxiety… or even trouble concentrating, there’s a very good chance that you’ll end up with a prescription for a powerful antidepressant drug… No further questions asked… Problem solved? Right?
Many drugs that are designed to treat depression and other mood disorders come with a long list of side effects, including weight gain, loss of sex drive and sometimes even thoughts of suicide.
Treating anything but the cause
The biggest reason why these drugs fail so many people time and time again is because they only treat the symptoms and not the causes of depression.
Now, there can be many reasons why you may suffer with depression, anxiety or other forms of mild mood disorders… But have you ever thought about the fact that beating depression has nothing to do with your brain and everything to do with your gut?
Here at The Daily Health we’ve written a lot about the importance of maintaining a healthy balance of gut flora, particularly pre and probiotics. They help boost your immune system, regulate your metabolism and even send signals to your brain that control your emotions… So, clearly they do a lot more than just help digest food.
In terms of helping to regulate your emotions and mood, here’s how your gut flora fits into the puzzle. The biggest nerve in your body is called the vagus nerve, which carries electrical impulses from your gut to the areas of the brain that are responsible for basic emotions like anxiety or happiness.
In simple terms, when you have a good balance of healthy gut bacteria, it has a positive effect on your mood and you can stay calm and focused and resist depression and other mood disorders more easily.
A recent study found that mice that were fed a probiotic with healthy gut bacteria became more outgoing and suffered with less anxiety. They would explore a maze with dangerous edges, while the mice without the bacteria were timid, lethargic and stayed in one place.
Unfortunately, the Western diet — laden with sugar, additives, unhealthy trans fats and preservatives — doesn’t do an awful lot of good when it comes to cultivating and maintaining a good balance of gut bacteria, which means that our digestive systems are unhealthier and more out of whack than ever before.
It’s no wonder antidepressant use is up 400 per cent over the past 25 years.
While more and more forward-thinking health experts are recognising the link between a healthy gut and a healthy mind, very few doctors make the connection between our diet and depression. The typical patient who ends up on an antidepressant has never had their gut function tested, nor have they been encouraged to try a simple probiotic.
So, if you’re feeling depressed, try taking a probiotic and discuss any digestive issues you may have with your doctor. The secret to beating the blues might just lie in your stomach.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Can the bacteria in your gut explain your mood, nytimes.com