Treating Your Stomach For Depression

by Brendan James

Carrie Arnold explores research pointing to increasing evidence “that psychiatric woes can be solved by targeting the digestive system”:

For decades, researchers have known of the connection between the brain and the gut. Anxiety often causes nausea and diarrhea, and depression can change appetite. The connection may have been established, but scientists thought communication was one way: it traveled from the brain to the gut, and not the other way around.

But now, a new understanding of the trillions of microbes living in our guts reveals that this communication process is more like a multi-lane superhighway than a one-way street. By showing that changing bacteria in the gut can change behavior, this new research might one day transform the way we understand — and treat — a variety of mental health disorders.

So far it looks like tweaking bacteria would carry the most mental benefits while a patient is still young.