Issue 8.4.17 Anxiety & Depression – The Connection to Gut Bacteria – Your Health Detective

The following is a summary of the findings reported at the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience: 

  • Gut bacteria are possibly working at more than keeping our bodies healthy – they may be actually changing our minds.
  • Recent studies report how living bacteria in the gut can alter the way our brain works.
  • The scientific question asked after recent studies is, “can we soothe our brains by cultivating our gut bacteria”?
  • By adjusting the gut’s bacterial intestinal terrain, scientists have been able to change the behavior of lab animals and, in smaller numbers to date, in people.
  • Scientists, by altering intestinal microbes have turned anxious mice bold, and shy mice social. Rats inoculated with bacteria from depressed people developed signs of depression.
  • Smaller studies of people suggest that eating specific kinds of bacteria may change brain activity and ease anxiety/panic. This is believed to be effective because gut bacteria can make the very chemicals that brain cells use to communicate…Click to continue reading…

The Scientific Bottom-line… 

The studies cited above suggest that the right (health-enhancing) bacteria in your gut could brighten mood and perhaps even combat pernicious mental disorders including anxiety, depression and panic disorders. Conversely, the wrong microbes in your intestinal terrain might lead the brain into a darker mental direction.


According to gastroenterologist Kirsten Tillisch of UCLA, our microbes (known collectively as the microbiome) are “so innate in who we are,” it’s easy to imagine that “they’re controlling us, or we’re controlling them.” But it’s becoming increasingly clear that no one element is in charge. Instead, “it’s a conversation that our bodies are having with our microbiome.”

Nutritional “Food” for Intestinal Microbiome…

Probiotic foods, such as asparagus and garlic, may help the gut cultivate beneficial (health-enhancing) bacteria.

If the mind can affect the microbiome and the microbiome can affect the mind, it makes little sense to talk about who is in charge.

Combating stress may be another way to change the microbiome, Tillisch and others suspect. Mouse studies have shown that stress, particularly early in life, can change microbial communities, and not in a good way.

I’ve compiled a detailed report of scientific findings and nutritional guidelines..Click to download the entire research article. Download 08.4.17 Anxiety & Depression – Gut Bacteria

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