New studies point to the trillions of organisms in the human microbiome as playing an unexpectedly huge role in our well-being
Scientists are exploring evidence that major depression may in part be a gut feeling, orchestrated by the microbiome—trillions of microorganisms living in and around our bodies, which influence our health and well-being.
In a series of studies, researchers are discovering that the microbial menagerie living in our digestive tract may help regulate brain function, including mental health. Recent findings by scientists in the U.S., Europe and China are linking our feelings of stress, anxiety and severe depression to disturbances among hundreds of microbe species living in our gut that some researchers have started calling the psychobiome.
Conversely, other bacteria in the gut appear to produce some of the same substances used by doctors to treat depression and may naturally play a role in maintaining our emotional balance.
By Robert Lee Hotz