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Treat Depression with Probiotics

Dietary Interventions First Line of Defense Against Depression

The brain-gut connection is highlighted in medical journals fairly often these days. Unfortunately, it is not getting much discussion in clinics where depression is quickly diagnosed and treated with medications that often have side effects and questionable results.

This is not a call to give up on a pharmaceutical approach to depression treatment, but to encourage patients and health care providers to consider dietary interventions and cognitive therapy (counseling, mending relationships, forgiving, etc.) before reflexively prescribing pharmaceuticals.

Some patients clearly do need pharmaceuticals; but, depression is often over-diagnosed and definitely over-treated with pharmaceuticals. It is estimated that only 38% of cases merit antidepressants. They should be reserved for the most serious cases of depression.

Patients with depression and other psychiatric diagnoses are often found to be lacking in certain healthy bacteria in the gut. This is why the term “psychobiotics” has been coined.

Poor diets, too much sugar, not enough fiber, too many acid blocking pills and antibiotics, and even certain antidepressants (Mirtazapine and Fluoxetine) may compromise our gut flora. The benign gut flora B. infantis may be used for depression, while L. helveticus and L. rhamnosus may be used for anxiety. They work on GABA receptors which improves dopamine function in the brain.

So, what should you do? Feed your gut flora real food and supplement with probiotics.