The state of the gut and its link to depression


Hi there and welcome to the Allele Microbiome blog,

Here we'll be discussing topics related to the gut and some of its impact on our lives. In our first blog post we're going to quickly discus the gut and its connection with depression.

As the human gut microbiome research begins to roll in, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the gut microbiome balance and depression are closely linked to each other according to Lima-Ojeda (2017). This is because our gut microbiome has an effect on the hormone levels in our bodies. Hormones play a major role in regulating our moods, and hormonal imbalance plays a major role in causing depression.

What is the microbiome?

The gut microbiome consists of all the microorganisms that live in our gut. They can be either neutral, bad, or beneficial to us. You also have a skin microbiome and an oral microbiome.

This Lima-Ojeda's (2017) research stresses the importance of maintaining a correct and healthy balance between us humans and our microorganisms living in us so that we may have healthy psychological function.

But how do we know how balanced out our gut flora is?

It's difficult to say. We can make guesses at it if it is dominated by either good or bad bacteria but to get into specifics you'll need to complete faecal microbial analysis.

How do we maintain a good balance between in our gut?

Hippocrates of Kos got it right back in the 4th century BC when he said "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". Eating a healthy diet consisting on a variety of plant based foods as well as foods with an animal origin is beneficial to cultivating a normal and healthy microbiome. Imagine your gut being a garden. By feeding your garden healthy foods you encourage the growth of the bacteria that feed off healthy foods. These bacteria make you feel good and produce healthy hormones. By feeding your garden unhealthy food you encourage the growth of microbes that thrive off junk food, making them grow bigger in number. This will result in you feeling less than optimal.

It's almost frightening to think that microbes can control how we feel but we have the power to control who controls us through making the appropriate life style changes.

Sources: Juan M. Lima-Ojeda, Rainer Rupprecht, and Thomas C. Baghai ,2017,“I Am I and My Bacterial Circumstances”: Linking Gut Microbiome, Neurodevelopment, and Depression, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5572414/ (October 2017)