03 Aug Depression and probiotics

New research about depression and probiotics reveals that sadness and depression aren’t just “in your head”.

depressed person photo

Anyone who has experienced real depression will know how futile (and frustrating) advice along the lines of “just pull yourself together” really is. It’s futile because it’s simply not possible: if it were, given how awful depression feels, surely each and every depressed person would have “pulled themselves together” already.

Fortunately, research is starting to reveal more about what sufferers of depression instinctively know: there’s something more going on, and thinking happy thoughts just doesn’t always cut it.

Dr. David Perlmutter is a board-certified neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition who calls himself an “empowering neurologist”. Dr. Perlmutter’s website is packed with information that will appeal to anyone interested in creating optimal emotional and brain health through dietary and lifestyle choices. His blogs (which are really worth subscribing to) never fail to deliver some interesting slice of empowering knowledge, always delivered in easily digestible bite sized pieces.

In his latest offering titled “Probiotics and Mood”, Dr Perlmutter explains that a new study has provided “the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood”. How?

It’s thought that a healthy intestinal bacteria in turn supports healthy production of neurotransmitters that are essential for healthy (and happy) moods. It’s also thought that healthy intestinal bacteria keep inflammatory processes in check, which otherwise impact badly on mood health.

Most of us are familiar with the term probiotic, but what does this actually mean?

Simply, probiotics are live bacteria that can be taken in dietary and/or supplement form to recolonise, rebalance, and renew the bacterial colonies that live in our intestines.

We already know that when our own bacterial “microbiome” gets compromised, all sorts of health consequences result (that’s why your pharmacist may recommend probiotics as a follow up treatment after taking anti-biotics, for example).

But mood disorders? Depression? These exciting first links are now being made: our intestinal bacteria has a direct impact on our mood and emotional health, and the implications for those who struggle with depression may be enormous. And unless your Psychologist or doctor has an interest in nutritional medicine, don’t expect to hear about this from them.

Read more about how probiotic intervention affects mood from Dr Perlmutter’s newsletter here.

Or contact me via email or directly on 0416 003 026 if you have questions about your own depression, anxiety, and mood health, and are ready to get started with nutritional and therapeutic solutions that work.