Genetics Microbiology Neuroscience

The intact link between depression and gut microbes

Gut microbes are those microorganisms, which reside in our intestines. 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 are more than genes present in our human genome. These microbes play a crucial role in various physiological functions in our bodies. 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.


The link between Depression and Gut microbiome   

There are many theories explaining Depression. According to one such theory,  the behaviorist theory 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.


Dopamine and depression

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, which brains releases and it plays a steadfast role in motivation and reward. This neurotransmitter is also responsible for happiness.  On the other hand, the hallmark symptoms of depression are lack of motivation and lethargy, Both these symptoms are also present when there are low levels of dopamine in the body. To sum it up, Those who suffer from depression, have low levels of dopamine.


 Gut microbiome and 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. They are of the view, that gut microbiome, where they affect our immune system. Also, interact with our central nervous system. To prove this hypothesis, scientists performed some experiments.

Researchers conducted experiments on 1000 participants in a study called, Belgium Flemish Gut Flora Project. They studied their 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. They came to the conclusion that gut microbiota indeed affects our mental health and is one of the reasons for depression.


The link between Gut microbiome and Depression. Source: Nature



According to their findings.  Those who were depressed lacked two groups of bacteria in their fecal microbiota.  Coprococcus and Dialister. They observed the positive linkage between quality of life and ability of gut microbiome to synthesize a breakdown product of neurotransmitter, called 3,4 -dihydroxyphenyleacetic acid. Up to date, these findings are strong verdict for the interaction of microbiome to mental health.

with these findings, scientists are now on the path to further explore evidence regarding microbiota influence on the production of neurotransmitters. Albeit these findings, scientists have only discussed the correlations but these findings would help a lot to further manipulate and interpret the idea. It is important to keep in mind that further research is underway and may either reinforce or modify these conclusions.

Read more:  Do Gut microbes affect Human Psychology?









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