The gut-brain axis - microbiome and depression

Today I will be discussing a review from a little more than a year ago that discusses research that links the microbiome with stress, anxiety, and depression.

First, it should be noted that a 2-way communication between the gut and brain has already been established.  The review goes on to mention studies in mice where not only are germ free mice associated with higher stress responses, but stress and anxiety early in life are associated with long-term changes in the microbiome.  There was efficacy in reducing stress by treating stressed mice with probiotics.  Other studies however have shown germ-free mice to have reduced stress when compared to their counterparts.  In addition, multiple studies showed that inflammation of the gut caused by dysbiosis or a pathogenic gut bacteria increased stress and anxiety levels in mice.

There are many mechanisms by which the microbiome communicates with the brain and may affect the stress levels.  I encourage anyone interested to read the paper to learn more.  In the end, more research is needed to discover just how important the microbiome is to our mental health.

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