Depression is a leading source of disability globally. Depression starts in your gut and that is prompting new research and new clinical targets in the treatment of depression. We have the testing and treatment now at Second Nature Care. Taste summer in the winter with fermented foods. Did you know that fermented foods are part of a dietary treatment for depression?
The Link Between Diet and Depression
Years ago, I remember Gary Null talked about the link between diet and mood; Good Food Good Mood.
We know about 'commensal bacteria' in our gut that forms an organ. It's a diverse community of bacteria and genetic material that live inside of us. The intestinal microbiome has a role in every chronic disease from allergies to depression to cancers.
Our gut microbiome has far reaching effects in the body. It is the origin of our immune system. Besides regulating digestive movements and maintaining gut barrier functions it has a key role in our brain and behaviors.
Two key clinical questions during my first new patient intake
Were you a vaginal birth or a C-section? Were you breastfed or formula fed and for how long?
Your microbiome development begins before birth and is greatly influenced by your answers to those two questions. The microbiome evolves and continues to be influenced by age, genetics, where you live and visit, medication use, environmental exposures and diet.
A recent systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that a healthy diet is significantly associated with a reduced odds for depression.
Sugar and unhealthy high fat foods increased the risk of psychological symptoms in children and adolescents.
The Gut Brain Axis
Since the 1800's, researchers have been investigating mental health disorders and autointoxication arising from dietary habits and toxins in the gastrointestinal tract.
The gut microbiome can be manipulated with probiotics and antibiotics. Antibiotics create depression like behaviors.
Did you know that anxiety can be transferred through the gut microbiome?
Most of my patients have Leaky Gut. This is characterized by a loss of or compromised integrity in their protective epithelial gut barrier. They are like cartoon characters that literally have holes in their intestinal lining. Once the barrier is breached you get increased circulating bacteria-derived lipopolysaccharides or LPS that set off immunological and inflammatory mediated responses. Inflammatory chemicals get released and create systemic inflammation.
Inflammation causes depression. Elevated serum levels of IgM and IgA against enterobacteria-derived LPS is elevated in chronic depression. Inflammation causes cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and depression.
The Mediterranean diet and daily exercise have beneficial effects on your gut microbiome. You need fiber to create short chain fatty acids. Short chain fatty acids promote good bacteria and inhibit bad bacteria.
We have Genova's comprehensive stool profile to analysis your short chain fatty acids - acetate, propionate and butyrate. And we offer Empire City Labs 22 stool pathogen G.I. test which is free if they accept your insurance.
Complex carbohydrates, plant-based foods, fruits and vegetables and fermented foods positively affect our microbial gut bacteria composition. Unhealthy high fat diets create gut dysbiosis, intestinal permeability and inflammation. Plant-based diets create greater microbial diversity.
I recommend Xymogen's Mood Food ES, Neuro OptiMag and ProbioMax 350 DF to rebalance the gut and your neurotransmitters.
- 5 Medical Foods for Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Second Nature Care
- 5 steps to a Good Gut - Second Nature Care
- Light at the end of the Tunnel - Depression - Naturopathic Medicine