Importance of good mental health–3: Healthy gut bacteria

Importance of good mental health–3: Healthy gut bacteria

Most people are always on the lookout for the perfect diet plans that can help them attain a balance between a healthy body and mind. Nevertheless, trying out ideas advised by therapists, friends or those available online may not always have the desired effects. Sometimes, it may lead to complications. 

Studies conducted in recent years have indicated how tiny microbes lining one’s gut transmit signals to the brain affecting psychological and neurological behavior in humans. Researchers from the Graduate School of Health, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) are trying to find out if ingesting live bacteria could prove to be effective in treating mild anxiety and depression. Dr. Lynette Roberts, a senior lecturer at the UTS Graduate School of Health aims to examine the impact of doses of multispecies probiotic, administered two times every day, on adults exhibiting signs of depression.

Linking gut health with quality of mental health

Stressing on the link between gut health to proper emotional health, Dr. Roberts said, “Probiotics have an anti-inflammatory effect, calming everything down, and studies are already showing they can arrest the thought processes that make people more vulnerable to mood disorders. Previous research has found that healthy people feel less sad, less worried and less stressed when they’re taking probiotics.” This could pave way for managing and treating two of the most challenging mental health conditions — depression and anxiety.

A group of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) corroborated the findings in their study, titled “Gut Microbiota Regulate Motor Deficits and Neuroinflammation in a Model of Parkinson’s Disease” that was carried out on laboratory mice. The research that got published online in the journal Cell in December 2016 revealed how bacteria in the gut caused movement disorders similar to Parkinson’s disease in the mice and put forth the suggestion that patients suffering from debilitating conditions of the disease could get some relief through probiotic therapies. The study was one of its kind in establishing connection between the gut and neurodegenerative disease whose origins are till date believed to be only in the brain.

Modification of gut bacteria can help improve mental health

The suggestions put forth by the researchers add to observations of previous studies that examined the association between good bacteria in the gut and functions of a healthy brain. A study, titled “Microbiota Modulate Behavioral and Physiological Abnormalities Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders” carried out on mice suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was based on the premise how certain individuals diagnosed with subsets of ASD show microbial imbalance in the gut leading to gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities.

These observations have led many scientists to believe that modification of gut bacteria could alter behaviors and moods akin to extreme anxiousness and depression. It brings to light the possibility of preventing and treating psychiatric disorders by targeting gut health.

Recovery road map

The confirmation of the effects of probiotics in improving overall health can help physicians treat their patients afflicted with complex and challenging mental conditions. A healthy microbiome reflects clarity of thoughts, perceptions and emotions and unhealthy one leads to myriad problems.

It is common to treat depression by prescribing antidepressants but some people experience side effects. Many depressed patients complain of harboring suicidal tendencies or exhibiting signs of worsening depressive disorder, especially among adolescents and children. This instigated the researchers to carry out necessary investigations aimed at discovering alternative and innovative ways of treating depression that neither has side effects nor any stigma attached.

If you or your loved one is feeling aggrieved owing to the effects of any mental health problem and is looking for relief, you may get in touch with the Florida Mental Health Helpline for necessary information about mental disorder treatment in Florida. Alternatively, you may also call our 24/7 helpline number at 866-846-5588 to find out about the best mental health counselor in Florida. For instant help, you may chat with our online representatives and get details about various treatments for mental health disorders in Florida.

Read the other articles of the series “Importance of good mental health:”

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