The headline comes from Science Daily and reads, “Gut Bacteria Linked to Behavior: That Anxiety May Be in Your Gut, Not in Your Head.”
While alternative medicine has always maintained that there is a close association between gut bacteria and general health, it was only recently that a connection was made between celiac disease and schizophrenia. Celiac disease being an allergic reaction to gluten that can damage the small intestine. If the schizophrenia came first (chicken or the egg) then there’s more work to do, but if the celiac disease causes changes in the intestines that are a precursor to a mental disorder, then that’s a pretty good starting point for not only research but eventual cure, at least for celiac induced schizophrenia.
The first thing I noticed about this new study was that they used antibiotics to “disrupt” the normal bacteria in the gut. I consider that to be significant only because in years past “medical experts” had assured us that antibiotics were harmless to intestinal flora. Recently, however, it was learned that antibiotics not only damage beneficial bacteria, but can leave the colon susceptible to resistant genes for up to 2 years with even short-course antibiotic treatments.
This study, conducted at McMaster University, demonstrates that researchers were not only able to induce a chemical linked to depression and anxiety, they saw a reversal once the gut bacteria returned to normal.
“Working with healthy adult mice, the researchers showed that disrupting the normal bacterial content of the gut with antibiotics produced changes in behaviour; the mice became less cautious or anxious. This change was accompanied by an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been linked to depression and anxiety.
When oral antibiotics were discontinued, bacteria in the gut returned to normal. ‘This was accompanied by restoration of normal behaviour and brain chemistry,’ Collins said.”
Sounds like “gut bacteria” may be an important component of good mental health. The “disruptions” that they refer to were most likely the destruction of normal, beneficial bacteria in the intestine. It’s also why some alternative medicine practitioners recommend a probiotic supplement during and after antibiotic treatment.
If you’re unfamiliar with the whole probiotic discussion, the simplest place to start is yogurt. Yogurt generally contains some form of lactobacillus which is considered a “good bacteria” that your body needs. But as in all things, there are some caveats. The yogurt has to contain live cultures.
There is also a debate about viability in the presence of stomach acid. In order to overcome this obstacle it is recommended that you use acid resistant strains of probiotic bacteria in overwhelming numbers. That’s why you’ll see several strains of bacteria, as well as quantities of viable organisms in the billions, listed on some probiotic supplements. In addition, some supplements attempt to bypass the stomach entirely by using enteric coated caps which only release their contents in the small intestine (which is an alkaline environment).
If you want to learn more, I have some great Kindle Books for you with very long titles. Oh, by the way, you did know that you don’t need a Kindle Reader to view Kindle Books didn’t you? You can now get Free Kindle Reading Apps for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, or your Android Phone. Just click this link and you can download the free app right now.
Here are those 3 books:
1) The Probiotics Revolution: The Definitive Guide to Safe, Natural Health Solutions Using Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods and Supplements by Sarah Wernick and Gary B. Huffnagle
2) The Wonder of Probiotics: A 30-Day Plan to Boost Energy, Enhance Weight Loss, Heal GI Problems, Prevent Disease, and Slow Aging by Deborah Mitchell and John R. Taylor
3) Probiotic and Prebiotic Recipes for Health: 100 Recipes that Battle Colitis, Candidiasis, Food Allergies, and Other Digestive Disorders by Tracy Olgeaty Gensler
Some of the most popular brands of probiotic at Amazon are Acidophilus Pearls
by Enzymatic Therapy, Lemon Flavored Threelac Probiotic Packets by GHT Global Health Trax Inc. and Jarro-Dophilus EPS by Jarrow Formulations.
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