Is gut health linked to anxiety and depression? Listen as Dr. Rawls discusses emerging research on the connection between the gut microbiome, microbes, and brain health. Learn some natural ways to support brain health here.
Question: Is gut health linked to anxiety and depression?
Tim Yarborough: What is the gut connection to anxiety and depression?
Dr. Rawls: It’s complex. We know that there is a connection. We are finding that, you know, inflammation of the brain, recently, I cited a study that they looked at brains of Alzheimer’s patients, and they found that the whole gut microbiome was represented in the brain in low concentrations. And what was interesting is the controls that they checked also had it, but the difference was higher concentrations of microbes and higher concentrations of potential pathogens in the Alzheimer’s patients. It’s probably not the only cause of Alzheimer’s, but it’s bound to be part of it.
And it was really interesting, and it definitely supports my theory that breakdown of the gut-blood barrier and breakdown of the brain-blood barrier allows these microbes to end up in tissues. And then if your immune system isn’t strong, to keep them all corralled, then you have a real problem. So I think we are still early in the game. You know, we’re finding these connections to the gut microbiome. We’re finding different microbes that are associated, but it’s a wide spectrum of microbes.
It’s not a microbe or one group of microbes. The studies are finding that people have pretty wide spectrums of different fluctuations of the gut microbiome. But they’re different than normal people, than the controls.
So as we’re learning more about the microbiome, I think we’ll find particular groups of bacteria or certain patterns of bacteria that are associated with anxiety and depression. And certainly just the inflammation of irritating the brain has an effect, also, that very definitely affects sleep. And we’re finding really strong connections between poor sleep and anxiety and depression because the brain isn’t taking care of itself if it’s not sleeping. So it’s all tied together.
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