Scientists are looking for evidence that a large amount of depression can be a part of the gut feeling, organized by microbiome trillions of microorganisms living in and around our bodies, that affect our health and well-being.
In a series of studies, researchers are finding that the microbial mangroves in our digestive system can help regulate brain function, including mental health. Recent findings by scientists in the U.S., Europe, and China combine the feelings of stress, anxiety, and intense frustration among the hundreds of microbial species that live in our gut with the feeling that some researchers have begun to call psychiatry.
In contrast, other bacteria in the gut produce some of the same substances used by doctors to treat depression and may naturally play a role in maintaining our emotional balance.
“If you have always been associated with gastrointestinal disorders,” said Jack Gilbert, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Diego and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who helped study the human intestinal microbiome. Nerves chemically alter signals, which changes the chemistry of the brain and therefore behavior, mood and, we believe, depression and anxiety. “