Genetics Microbiology Neuroscience

The intact link between depression and gut microbiome

gut microbiome depression

Actually, we are more non-human than human – trillions of microbes live on the skin and even inside the body, including; bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic animals. These organisms make up our microbiota or microbiome.

Interestingly, about 95% of them live in our gastrointestinal tract or gut. The current studies show the relationship between the microbiome and our health – Mood, autoimmune disorders, allergy, sleep, obesity and more.

Also, these microbiome influences how our brain functions and linked to conditions such as anxiety and depression.

What is Gut Microbiome?

The gut microbiome is those microorganisms, which reside in our intestines. The combination of these microbes, their genes, and the products they create had a great effect on our health.

Moreover, the main phyla present in our guts are Bacteroides and firmicutes. Studies show that including these two phyla, about 1000 species of bacteria are present in our gut microbial community.

Furthermore, the number of genes counted by scientists is more than genes present in our human genome.  Recent studies find out that Gut microbes also have a key role in our mental health and mainly depression.

Read more:  Effects of gut microbiota on human health.


There are many theories explaining depression. Such as the behaviorist theory explained the depression results from the interaction between stimuli from the environment and the negative emotional responses.

Depression also happens due to the low level of certain neurotransmitters or chemicals. These factors which are protein in nature are essential for learning and memory.

Explore More: How “turmeric” helps in the prevention of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Video: What is the Human Microbiome? and their effect on health.

How Gut Microbiome affect Depression?

Just as, humans and other animals interact with one another. Similarly, scientists believe that humans and our gut microbiome also interact with each other. To prove this hypothesis, scientists performed some experiments.

Researchers conducted experiments on 1000 participants in a study called, Belgium Flemish Gut Flora Project. They examined the participant fecal microbiota. They observed fluctuation in the population of bacteria, associated with quality of life.

Faecalibacterium and Coprococcus bacteria were consistent with a higher quality of life. While Dialister and Coprococcus spp were depleted in patients diagnosed with depression.

They also applied these findings to an independent cohort of 1,063 individuals in the Netherlands’ Lifelines DEEP project. Finally, they sum up the finding in the form of data describing the interaction between CNS and fecal microbiome.

Their report shows that depressed people lacked two groups of bacteria in their fecal microbiota, i.e. Coprococcus and Dialister.

They observed the positive linkage between quality of life and the ability of gut microbiome to synthesize a breakdown product of neurotransmitter, called 3,4 -dihydroxyphenyleacetic acid.


The link between a gut microbiome and Depression. Source: Nature

Future Perspective

The study of the gut microbiome has increasingly revealed an important role in modulating brain function and mental health.

And with these findings, scientists are now on the path to further explore evidence regarding the microbiota influence on the production of neurotransmitters.

Future research is needed to firmly establish the microbiome’s causal role, to further elucidate the mechanisms by which gut microbes influence brain function and mental health, and to possibly develop treatments that improve mental health through microbiotic targets.

Read more:  Do Gut microbes affect Human Psychology? 


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