Depression and Gut Health


Maybe you’ve heard about the gut-brain
axis or even how the state of your gut can affect your mood or even your
susceptibility to a mood disorder. Well in this video, we’re going to be joining
the dots between the gut and conditions like depression and anxiety. Hi I’m Leah and this is The Thrive
Practice where we talk health improvement, science fact and lifestyle
hacks to make healthy living a breeze. Now if that sounds right up your street
then might I suggest you subscribe and hit the bell button because that way
you’ll know whenever we upload a new video. We tend to compartmentalise the
human body quite a bit in science and that’s great for learning because it
allows you to fully understand a system before moving on to the next one, but
what that doesn’t allow for is the linkages between different systems
within the body and the gastrointestinal system is one of those. Now the
gastrointestinal system is so much more than just the part that processes the
food extracts the good stuff and then dumps the rest out.
In fact the gastrointestinal tract supports a very large network of nerves
around 200 to 600 million nerves are embedded in the lining that runs the
length of the gut from oesophagus to anus this network of nerves carries orders
from the brain to various parts of the digestive system but the communication
goes both ways with messages being relayed from the guts of regions within
the brain that process emotion, memory and motivation to name a few. You’re
probably all too aware of how our emotions can affect our gut behaviors
remember your last big presentation or seeing the love of your life, the
feelings of nausea and butterflies? That right there is a result of your brain
communicating with your guts and it’s that interaction between your brain and
your gut that it’s often described as the gut-brain axis. There are lots of
studies exploring how the gut-brain axis influences how different parts of the
body function as well as looking at how the axis and imbalances within the axis
can increase the likelihood of disease ranging from Crohn’s disease and
irritable bowel syndrome or IBS to autism spectrum disorders and depression.
In addition, researchers have also found that people with gut disorders tend to
have some form of mood disorder as well. One study found that 60% of people with
IBS also had depression. Unfortunately, one thing these studies cannot do is
provide directionality, which came first the IBS or the depression? Studies like
this highlight the importance of a well-functioning
gut-brain axis and how addressing certain leverage points can help rectify any
imbalances. For example, we know that neurotransmitters like serotonin and
dopamine play a key role in regulating the gut-brain axis. Serotonin, for
instance regulates a number of complex bodily functions including body
temperature control and emotions. It is the body’s mood stabiliser. Most of
the serotonin in the body is produced in the gut and the gut microbiota regulates
how this important chemical is produced. It therefore stands to reason that any
imbalances in the gut, could lead to a deterioration in brain function such as
those involved in sleep mood and behaviour. And just like the by
bi-directionality that we see in the gut- brain axis we also see bi-directionality in the gut microbiota, with variations in the composition of
the microbiota affecting mood and mood disorders affecting the variation of the
composition within the microbiota. In fact, emotions like anger fear and
sadness have also been shown to affect the growth of different bacterial
species. Animal studies have shown that the use of probiotics, prebiotics and
suitable antibiotics can be used to relieve symptoms of depression and
anxiety suggesting potential alternative treatment options. However, we all know
that animal studies do not necessarily translate exactly to human beings. But
where the science is available for humans prebiotics have been shown to
have a positive impact on mood disorders so what are these prebiotics? Prebiotics
are fibre rich foods that the good bacteria feed and grow on. When the
bacteria feed on these prebiotic foods they produce butyric acid, which is used
to fuel the cells of the large intestines and provide an acidic
environment which makes it harder for harmful bacteria to survive. Prebiotics
include foods like Jerusalem artichoke, garlic and leeks. So there you have it
the process by which a troubled gut may send signals via the gut-brain axis
that trigger a negative change in mood. Fascinated by the populations of micro-organisms that call your gut home? Then check this video out,
in the meantime subscribe and hit the bell button so you’ll be notified
whenever we upload a new video. Thanks for watching
and I’ll see you on the next one.

16 thoughts on “Depression and Gut Health

  1. So informative!! Thank you for sharing your knowledge! I've always found food so linked to mental health in my own life.

  2. Omgsh I resonated with this video so much! I have suffered from gut and depression issues and can definitely see how they are linked! Just subbed for more!!

  3. Thank you, Leah! Love your video, your Professionalism & graphics! Note to all: Let's stop the animal studies/experiments forever! Thank you in advance 💜🐀🐁🐵(and I'm a Biologist, soo sorry for all the harm we've done as non-kind humans) Vegan is the way, even if you start one day a week! Love & Light 🙌

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