Gut Feel­ing Are Pro­bi­otics the New An­tide­pres­sants?

Alternative Medicine - - Quick Nutrition -

There is a sim­ple, nat­u­ral, and non-phar­ma­co­log­i­cal so­lu­tion to th­ese mood and brain con­di­tions, how­ever—and it re­sides in­side the gut. I of­ten sur­prise my pa­tients by ask­ing them, “How is your di­ges­tion? Any gas, bloat­ing, nau­sea, bowel ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties?” Their re­sponses range from laugh­ing out loud to cu­rios­ity or dis­be­lief.

Prob­lems in the brain of­ten orig­i­nate in the gut and, par­tic­u­larly, in the mi­cro­biome—the com­mu­nity of tril­lions of bac­te­ria that live in the in­testines and else­where in the body. Even when there are no di­ges­tive symp­toms, the mi­cro­biome can be out of bal­ance—of­ten lead­ing to dis­as­trous con­se­quences for our phys­i­cal, men­tal, and emo­tional health.

Although we're used to think­ing of bac­te­ria as dan­ger­ous, they're ac­tu­ally just the op­po­site: Bac­te­ria are es­sen­tial to our health and, in­deed, to our very life. Sure, some bac­te­ria are dan­ger­ous, just as some are neu­tral. But the vast ma­jor­ity are ben­e­fi­cial. And be­cause we co-evolved with them, our bod­ies are lit­er­ally un­able to func­tion with­out them. Mi­crobes en­able us to di­gest our food, sup­port our im­mune sys­tem, and process thought and emotion. They are an in­te­gral part of our health and well­be­ing. A bal­anced mi­cro­biome means that you can think clearly, re­mem­ber ac­cu­rately, and fo­cus in­tently. It also cre­ates a calm, bal­anced mood with a lot of emo­tional re­serve for pro­cess­ing stress. An un­bal­anced mi­cro­biome, by con­trast, of­ten leads to brain fog, anx­i­ety, and de­pres­sion—the ail­ments that so many physi­cians are treat­ing with phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

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