miércoles, 6 de diciembre de 2017
Probiotics Help Reduce the Symptoms of Depression
When we speak in terms of mental health, most assume that the brain is the one in charge. Actually, your gut could be the determining factor.
Interestingly, between the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, it was thought that the remains in the colon could cause infections that would cause depression. And it turned out that, in fact, they were not so wrong.
Currently, scientific advances suggest that the mental state is influenced-or rather, directed, to a large extent, by the intestinal microflora; and probiotics (beneficial bacteria) are considered "the new antidepressants".
However, while it might be tempting to change one pill for another, I ask you to consider adopting a broader approach.
Taking a probiotic supplement might be useful, but if you still eat the same junk food as before, it is likely that no significant difference will arise. Actually, the key is to have a healthy diet.
Limiting or eliminating sugar is absolutely essential, while adding healthy fats will provide your brain with much needed fuel, and fermented foods will provide you with the beneficial bacteria you need.
If you add it to daily movements and regular exercise, sleep well and expose yourself prudently to the sun's rays, this will really provide your body with the basic constituent elements it needs to have an optimal functioning - physically and mentally.
A probiotic supplement could not achieve this on its own. That said, studies have shown how important healthy intestinal bacteria are when it comes to addressing depression.
Probiotics Reduce Depression Symptoms
Very recently, a small, randomized, placebo-controlled study1,2,3,4 involving 44 adults diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and with mild to moderate depression or anxiety, found that the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 provided relief for depression.
Half of the participants received the probiotic, while the other half received a placebo. At six weeks, 64% of the treatment group had reduced their depression scores, compared to 32% in the control group.
Those who received the probiotic also reported having fewer IBS symptoms and improved overall quality of life. At the end of 10 weeks, approximately twice as many in the treatment group still reported lower levels of depression.
Interestingly, functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed a link between having a lower depression score and actual changes in brain activity, specifically in areas involved in mood regulation, such as the amygdala.
As noted by Dr. Roger McIntyre, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of Toronto, who was not involved in the study:
"We know that a part of the brain, the amygdala, tends to be a red hot spot, in people with depression, and apparently calms down with this intervention." This provides greater scientific credibility for something in the brain, a very biological level, seems to be affected by this probiotic.
The co-author, Dr. Premysl Bercik - associate professor of medicine at McMaster, and gastroenterologist at Hamilton Health Sciences - added that:
"This study shows that consuming a specific probiotic could improve both intestinal symptoms and psychological problems caused by IBS.
This opens new avenues not only for the treatment of patients suffering from intestinal functional disorders, but also in the case of patients with psychiatric illness ... 6
[A] others, patients who consume probiotics reported having an improvement in IBS symptoms ... at the end of probiotic treatment, but not four weeks later, when the beneficial effect on depression was still present.
So one could argue that the main effect of this probiotic is on depression.
In addition, the amygdala is one of the important centers in the processing of abdominal pain, so if the probiotic has altered the function of this brain region, it could also improve the intestinal symptoms caused by IBS (pain is the hallmark of IBS) .7
The Convincing Relationship Between Depression and Intestinal Inflammation
Several studies have confirmed that gastrointestinal inflammation could play a crucial role in the development of depression, and that healthy bacteria could be an important part of the treatment. For example, a scientific analysis of Hungary8 published in 2011, made the following observations:
1. Often, depression is accompanied by gastrointestinal inflammation, as well as autoimmune, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, and low-grade chronic inflammation is a significant contributing factor in all this.
Therefore, "Depression could be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome"
2. Numerous clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammation with probiotics, omega-3 fats and vitamins B and D also improves the symptoms of depression by attenuating pro-inflammatory stimuli in your brain9
3. Research suggests that the main cause of inflammation could be a dysfunction in the "brain-gut axis" .10 The brain-gut connection is widely recognized as a basic principle of physiology and medicine, so this is not entirely surprising.
Your gut acts like a second brain and, in fact, during pregnancy, it is created from a tissue identical to your brain.
If you eat a lot of processed foods and sugars, the intestinal bacteria will be severely compromised, because processed foods tend to decimate the healthy microflora.
This leaves a void that fill the pathogenic bacteria causing diseases, yeasts and fungi, which promote inflammation
Also, previous research has shown that probiotics have the power to alter brain function, 11 so the study presented is not only in that sense.
And while Bercik and his team could not lower anxiety levels, a study in mice12 found that Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 - the same strain used in the Bercik study - has a normalized behavior similar to anxiety in animals. who had an infectious colitis.
Here, the anti-anxiety effect is attributed to the modulation of the vagal pathways, within the brain-gut axis.
Other research13 has shown that Lactobacillus rhamnosus is a probiotic that has a marked effect on the levels of GABA - an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of many physiological and psychological processes - in certain brain regions, where it decreases hormone levels of stress, corticosterone.
As a result, it decreases behaviors related to depression and anxiety. Also, strong links have been found between the intestinal microbiome and schizophrenia, as well as with bipolar disorder.