I just did a lecture on the Microbiome and Mental Health for Cenovus in the last month. The more I research and study the more I want to pass on to you. So the health of your gut is imperative to all of your physiology as I have talked about in previous blogs. If you eat a poor diet, high in saturated fat, sugar, processed food you essentially create a gut that is more likely to be colonized by pathogenic bacteria. If you have gut dybiosis which can be looked at via tests such as the GI Map or can be discerned via the symptomatic picture (gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or chronic constipation, brain fog, anxiety, depression for instance), you are more likely to be colonized by gut pathogens.
Because the gut is connected to the brain by the enteric nervous system and by the vagus nerve (this is believed to be the case at this time) and because gut bacteria have been shown to create many metabolites inclucing neurotransmitters, they may play a big role in how we feel on a daily basis. Gut bacteria that are pathogenic that have been associated with depression include Clostridium species, Alistipes,E. Coli, Shigella, Salmonella, Vibrio, Campylobacter, Yersinia, Enterocolitica, Aeromonas, Listeria for starters. How is it proposed they influence the brain and how we feel? Research has shown that chronic infections induce T cell activation, inflammatory cytokine formation, macrophage activation, and increased oxidative stress which may impairs neurotransmitter function. Working to improve your gut health may improve your brain and mood feasibly.
How can we eat to improve our mood with diet? Patients with depression show reduced levels of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria which are essentially lower levels of good bacteria. Diets with lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids, lower in fish, nuts, beans, and whole grains were associated with higher incidences of depression. If you consume a healthy diet such as a low glycemic Mediterranean Diet, rich in prebiotic foods and probiotic foods, high in fibre especially the Microbiota Accessible Carbohydrates, fermentable fiber for the gut bugs such as resistant starch, you will positively influence your microbiome. All these factors will improve the production of short chain fatty acid, which in turn, will support the growth of healthy good bacteria in the gut and will contribute to neuroproctection and attenatuate inflammation. Aim for fibre to be greater than 50 grams (In Africa they eat 70-120 grams daily), low saturated fat, high in omega 3 fatty acids (chia, hemp, flaxseed, wild seafood). Emphasize polyphenols (unsweetened whole berries, raw nuts, unsweetened cocoa, green tea, apricots, olives, etc) which increase good bacteria and suppress the growth of bad bacteria.
if you work every day on improving your diet and eat for your microbiome, surely you will notice a difference in or your ability to maintain a better attitude, cultivate better relationships with others and improve your daily disposition. If you are interested in improving your health status, talking more about your diet and your microbiome, please book an appointment with me at Parallel Wellness downtown Calgary. Kind regards, Robin
References: Gut Bowels and Behavior: The Groundbreaking Story of the Gut Brain Connection C:2013. The Pyschobiotic Revolution: Mood, Food, and the New Science, Scott C. Anderson, John F. Cryan, Ted Dinan Dec. 2019