Depression is defined as a common mental disorder that negatively affects our emotions and feelings, how we think and act. It can present as excessive feelings of sadness and loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, and it can even cause physical reactions in the body.
Managing the symptoms of this condition often requires a multifaceted approach. Recently, scientists have been investigating the relationship between our gut health and our mental health. It turns out that they are more related than we think.
Some experts even believe that taking probiotics for depression could help significantly improve symptoms for people with depression.
Probiotics for depression: what the science says
In selected studies, researchers aimed to examine the existing evidence on the effect of probiotic-based interventions on depression. Several randomized controlled trials were included in the meta-analysis. The results of the review indicated that probiotics significantly lowered scores on the depression scale (used to measure the severity of depressive symptoms) in subjects who took them.
The researchers also found that probiotics had a positive effect both in the healthy population and in patients with major depressive disorder.
The gut-brain connection
The researchers theorized that probiotics could play an important role in treating depression because of what they call the gut-brain connection. Bacteria in the gut can influence the production of certain hormones and chemicals that help mitigate the symptoms of depression.
The gut microbiota (or bacteria in the gut) can activate the immune and central nervous systems, including commensal and pathogenic microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract, as gut microorganisms can produce and deliver neuroactive substances such as serotonin and gamma-acid. aminobutyric.
Serotonin, also sometimes called "the happiness hormone," is responsible for stabilizing our mood and generating feelings of well-being, satisfaction, and happiness. It also participates in the communication between the cells of our brain and nervous system, and affects bodily processes such as eating, sleeping, and digestion. Interestingly, it is mentioned that 95 percent of the serotonin in the body is produced in the intestine.
Similarly, gamma aminobutyric acid (also called GABA) is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger in the brain. GABA is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it blocks certain brain signals and decreases the activity of the nervous system. All the studies that were reviewed showed that the influence of probiotics on bacteria in the gut yielded positive results for symptoms of depression.
So paying attention to our instincts can clearly make a big difference in our mental health. As always, be sure to speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.