The gut microbiome, the diverse colony of bacteria that live in your gut could affect your mental health and well being.
How so you say?
It’s thought gut microbes ‘talk’ to our central nervous system and signal the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, the ‘happy’ chemicals.
A Belgian study of 1000 people found that people with depression had low levels of gut bacteria called Coprococcus and Dialister. People with good mental health had high levels of Coprococcus and Faecalibacterium.
But the question is – are the bugs affecting a person’s mental health? or is a person’s mental health affecting the bugs?
Regardless of what causes the low levels of these ‘good’ bacteria, could probiotics help? Probiotics (live bacteria) help restore the ‘normal’ gut microbial balance. So, in theory probiotics could help with the symptoms of depression. However, mental health treatment is often a combination of therapy and medication.
Probiotics may help in conjunction with these treatments, but at this stage probiotics are not a replacement.