The Curious Relationship Between Depression and the Intestines


Sep 2016

As science has repeatedly shown, body and mind are intertwined in multiple ways. What’s even more amazing, is the relationship both have with the trillions of bacteria living inside our intestines. Collectively known as the gut microbiome, thousands of varieties of bacteria have evolved to live in harmony with the human body. These bacteria have many functions, for example helping to break down foods and improve nutrient absorption. In recent years, scientists have been able to show a connection between gut bacteria and other parts of the body, including the brain. The pathway connecting the brain to gut is the vagus nerve, a part of the nervous system which instructs the intestines to move food along through contracting and relaxing. A specific strain of bacteria, KLE1738, has been identified by researchers due to its special trait – the only “food” it can consume is GABA, a neurotransmitter chemical found in the brain and the nervous system. GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, or in simple terms, a chemical used by the brain to calm down neuronal activity. Abnormal levels of GABA have been linked to depression, and thus a gut bacteria that munches on GABA can directly influence the mood. Questions that remain open for future research include: – are there bacteria that can produce GABA, not just consume it? – what foods can influence the addition or deletion of KLE1738 from the gut? – will we ultimately able to resolve psychiatric conditions through food? — Source: Strandwitz et al – Gaba Modulating Bacteria of the Human Gut Microbiome – ASM Microbe, 2016

KISS Fact: The old saying of “you are what you eat” it a true statement.  We have been saying this for years.  Now the science is starting to back up the statement.


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