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The Human Gut Biome and Mental Health

Introduction
The Gut biome, also is known as the Gut microbiome, is the total collection of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, and the genetic material present in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). GIT includes all the beneficial and pathogenic bacteria. The interaction between gut biota and the host has been studied in the past few years, and their effects have been studied on metabolism, immune system, and neuroendocrine responses.

The role of Gut biome has been studied in the absorption of nutrients and minerals, synthesis of enzymes, amino acids and vitamins, and production of short-chain amino acids. Acetate, propionate, and butyrate are important fermentation products essential to keep the gut healthy and provide energy for epithelial cells and provide protection against pathogens by keeping the immune system’s integrity. The bacteria colonize various parts of the human body, including the oral cavity, vagina, skin, placenta, and GIT, and a majority of bacteria reside with the gastrointestinal tract.

The Second Brain
With its amazing features and an excellent association with the brain, the human gut biome is referred to as the Second Brain. There are about 100 million neurons embedded in the gut wall. So, it can boast its nervous system, and a sophisticated neural system is established between the brain and the gut.

At the time of birth, the gut is sterile, or we can say that it is free of microbes; as human growth, the gut develops distinct and diverse colonies of bacterial species. Which bacterial species will colonize our gut is partially determined by our genetics and partly by the bacteria around us. The GI is colonized by 100 trillion bacterial species and plays a crucial role in our health.


Vaginas, Nipples and Seeding!

Babies birthed by caesarian section do not get the abundant dose of lovely mummy bugs that come from a more natural vaginal birth. This can be problematic and some have suggested that as a solution the mother can…..oh,  well you can use your imagination for that one. 

Anyway, breastfeeding confers similar [but different] bacteriological benefits that are not delivered via a sterilized feeding bottle of Nestle evil baby formula. Watch this video to see why you should never buy any Nestle product ever:

 


Boring bit…

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This diagram shows the biosynthesis of bioactive compounds (indole and certain other derivatives) from tryptophan by bacteria in the gut. Indole is produced from tryptophan by bacteria that express tryptophanase. Clostridium sporogenes metabolizes tryptophan into indole and subsequently 3-indolepropionic acid (IPA), a highly potent neuroprotective antioxidant that scavenges hydroxyl radicals.  IPA binds to the pregnane X receptor (PXR) in intestinal cells, thereby facilitating mucosal homeostasis and barrier function. Following absorption from the intestine and distribution to the brain, IPA confers a neuroprotective effect against cerebral ischemia and Alzheimer’s disease. Lactobacillus species metabolize tryptophan into indole-3-aldehyde (I3A) which acts on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in intestinal immune cells, in turn increasing interleukin-22 (IL-22) production. Indole itself triggers the secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in intestinal L cells and acts as a ligand for AhR. Indole can also be metabolized by the liver into indoxyl sulfate, a compound that is toxic in high concentrations and associated with vascular disease and renal dysfunction. AST-120 (activated charcoal), an intestinal sorbent that is taken by mouth, adsorbs indole, in turn decreasing the concentration of indoxyl sulfate in blood plasma. Source: Wikipedia


Main Functions of Gut Bacteria

  • The gut bacteria regulate the metabolism
  • It improves the digestive system
  • These bacteria make vitamins and other nutrients from the food you eat
  • They maintain the gut wall and protect against the foreign invaders
  • They produce anti-microbial biochemical and defend the host against pathogens

The Gut Biome and Neurotransmitters
The gut bacteria produce several neurochemicals. We can say that gut biomes are associated with many neurotransmitters that the brain uses to regulate basic physiological processes and mental processes, including learning, memory, depression, and mood.

The explanation for this that how Gut bacteria are associated with depression and mood and how they can influence it? We found the answer in the fact that Gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body’s serotonin supply, and as the gut system has its neurotransmitters that are directly associated with the supply and release of different type of hormones related to mood and can change the mood and also do play a part in the depression.

As we are saying that Gut biomes can communicate with the brain, and also they are playing a part in the protection of the body against outside pathogens. Surely, we can say that the millions of bacteria associated with the Gut wall have a crucial role in maintaining and controlling the state of mind.


Oral sex may have certain health benefits
According to experts, a vagina is full of good bacteria, called lactobacillus, which helps women fight off bad bacteria.

More here: https://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/071017/treating-your-lover-to-oral-sex-may-have-certain-health-benefits.html

(It can also cause gingivitis and worse: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6692966/


Micro biome and depression
The gut microbes do play a role in major depressive disorder (MDD), which is the leading cause of disability worldwide. The advances in research are focusing on finding an alternative way to treat these psychiatric disorders by using the bidirectional communication system between the brain and the GIT. The scientists did this by increasing the production of different antibiotics, which are shown to have antioxidant abilities and improved nutrient absorption. These improved properties of probiotics help to treat depression disorders, and all are implicated in depression pathophysiology.

A review paper published in Annals of General Psychiatry provides evidence that these Gut probiotics do help to alleviate depressive disorders. We can say that these probiotics’ daily consumption would have positive effects on mood, depression, and anxiety and reduce the cognitive symptoms present in MDD.


“Links between gut microbes and depression strengthened
The once-wild idea that intestinal bacteria influence mental health has transformed into a major research pursuit.”

“The researchers found that two groups of bacteria, Coprococcus and Dialister, were reduced in people with depression. And they saw a positive correlation between quality of life and the potential ability of the gut microbiome to synthesize a breakdown product of the neurotransmitter dopamine, called 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid. The results are some of the strongest yet to show that a person’s microbiota can influence their mental health.”

More: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00483-5


Gut Microbes and personality traits
Research has proved that an altered and impaired intestinal function or leaky Gut we can say play a role in neuroinflammation. Other problems in the gut, like altered microbial composition or intestinal dysbiosis, contribute to neurological and psychological health. Recent research has found that the microbial strains within the gut that are associated with behavioral traits also could influence the social behavior of the individuals.

It is interesting to know that people having large social circles and have more participation in society are known to have a more diverse Gut biome. In contrast, it is found that people with stress, anxiety, or depression episodes are known to have reduced diversity in their gut biome that can be treated by taking probiotics supplements that are known to improve social behavior and personality traits.


Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis

“The bidirectional link between the brain, gut, and microbiome has come to the forefront of the medical research community in the past few years. The growing amount of evidence substantiating this link indicates it will be a valuable area for future medical and nutritional practice, and research. This review demonstrates the importance of a healthy microbiome, particularly the gut microbiota, for patients suffering from anxiety and depression, as dysbiosis and inflammation in the CNS have been linked as potential causes of mental illness.”

More: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5641835/


Please leave any tips or interesting biome facts in the comments section below. Thank you.

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