Intestinal Flora and Mental Health

Editor’s Comment: The gut-brain connection has become a hot topic in recent years. This article by Dr. Scott Mendelson not only discusses the reasons for this connection, but the research that demonstrates it.

Intestinal Flora and Mental Health

By Scott D. Mendelson, M.D., Ph.D., Consult Liaison Psychiatrist at the Roseburg VA Medical Center in Roseburg, Oregon.

Huffington Post, January 13, 2014

People suffering mental illness, including major depression, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, tend to have abnormal varieties of bacteria in their intestines. There is evidence that some psychiatric symptoms can be improved by restoring normal intestinal flora populations. There are now at least two formal studies showing that probiotics can improve mood. In one study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the addition of probiotics, i.e., healthy bacteria in capsules, for one month improved mood and reduced levels of stress hormones. A similar study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that daily addition of probiotic-containing yogurt over three weeks significantly improved mood in normal subjects. A study in the journal Gut Pathogens found that addition of probiotics to sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome resulted in significant reductions in levels of anxiety. Whether this was a specific effect on chronic fatigue or a general effect on anxiety was unclear.

Read the full article HERE.

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