The Gut-Brain Axis: The Missing Link in Depression

Major depression is one of the leading causes of disability, morbidity, and mortality worldwide. The brain–gut axis functions are disturbed, revealed by a dysfunction of the brain, immune system, endocrine system, and gut. Traditional depression treatments all target the brain, with different drugs and/or psychotherapy.

Studies indicate that gut microbiota could be a direct cause for the disorder. Abnormal microbiota and the microbiota–gut–brain dysfunction may cause mental disorders, while correcting these disturbance could alleviate depression. Nowadays, the gut microbiota modulation has become a hot topic in treatment research of mental disorders. Depression is closely related with the health condition of the brain–gut axis, and maintaining/restoring the normal condition of gut microbiota helps in the prevention/therapy of mental disorders.

The health of the brain and digestive tract are intertwined; what goes on in one greatly affects the function of the other. Thoughts can have a significant impact in the digestive function: a case of nerves can lead to butterflies in the stomach, and significant daily stress can trigger flares of IBS5, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. And yet, the mental wellbeing is similarly dictated by digestive wellbeing. Those with irritable bowel syndrome tend to have far higher rates of mental illness. The likelihood that someone with IBS would be diagnosed with depression or anxiety was significantly higher than someone without IBS, and it was also significantly more likely that someone with depression or anxiety would be diagnosed with IBS.

Nourishing a strong gut-brain connection means taking a holistic approach to wellbeing, one that does not forget that bacteria have a role to play in regulating digestive and nervous system function. Taking steps to manage stress, exercise, eat a healthy, plant-filled diet alongside a daily probiotic will help you build a healthier, more resilient mind and body.

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