- If you have IBS, then this is important, it could lead to depression
- Brand new research shows that your GUT health is linked to depression
- This often-derided remedy really can work, say scientists
In 2000 something weird happened in a Canadian town called Walkerton.
A major flood contaminated the water supply.
The dangerous pathogens known as Escherichia coli and Campylobacter jejuni entered their drinking water.
As a result, 2,300 people got severe stomach infections.
Many of these victims developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – a chronic stomach pain ailment that can haunt people for a lifetime.
But that’s not the weird part of the story.
You’d expect stomach infections to happen after a serious water contamination.
Here’s the weird part…
Over the next 8 years, Stephen Collins, gastroenterologist at McMaster University in Canada, kept a close track of the residents’ health.
He realised that there was an unnatural rise in depression and anxiety in exactly the same period.
Water contamination leading to psychiatric issues?
….How could that be?
Well, his colleague at McMaster, Dr. Premysl Bercik had an inkling of the answer. He speculated that psychiatric problems were being caused either by stomach inflammation OR damage to the balance of microbes in the gut.
This started a chain of research at McMaster University leading to this latest study, led by Dr. Premysl Bercik, published in in the medical journal Gastroenterology on 23rd May.
It’s hot-off-the-press, this one!
The link yet between your gut and mental health
This study showed that people with IBS who take probiotics can dramatically reduce the symptoms of depression linked to their condition.
And yes, these probiotics can also make your stomach feel better too, with less pain and inflammation.
A double whammy of good things there.
Dr. Premysl Bercik said this….
“This study shows that consumption of a specific probiotic can improve both gut symptoms and psychological issues in IBS.
This opens new avenues not only for the treatment of patients with functional bowel disorders but also for patients with primary psychiatric disease.”
So here’s yet more evidence that GUT health can affect your brain, causing depression…. particularly if you have a chronic stomach pain problem like IBS.
Amazing to think, isn’t it?
It cases a new light on the old phrase “You think with your stomach!”
In recent years a few studies have linked gastrointestinal health with psychiatric conditions like anxiety, autism and schizophrenia.
But this new piece of evidence is the strongest direct link yet.
It’s an idea that many in the mainstream scientific community are still sceptical about.
That’s fine, of course. Scientists are supposed to be sceptical until they can prove otherwise.
It’s their job.
But based on the thinking so far, the trend of discovery seems to be leading to one conclusion…
That the bacteria in your stomach have a huge influence on many aspects of your physical and mental health.
In the obvious short term, having a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut can help with digestion, aid the absorption of nutrients from food, fight infection and strengthen your immune system.
But in the longer term, they could be linked to the function of your vital organs, including brain function and emotional wellbeing.
Probiotics have had some terrible press.
A lot of journalists have questioned pro-biotics in articles designed to stir up derision and controversy….
And yes, a lot of yoghurt companies have jumped on board a bandwagon, selling tiny pots of yoghurts as major health products… perhaps over-egging claims or making leaps that the scientists are not yet willing to confirm.
There’s also the question of quality… which of these products actually contain active ingredients that have a strong enough effect….
In fact, I have written a blog post about Probiotic yoghurts, the pros and cons here:
However, the evidence is beginning to stack up…
What’s more, I wrote that article before I saw a remarkable new piece of research which came out in March this year.
In this study, researchers at University of Virginia successfully reversed depression symptoms in mice by giving them Lactobacillus (a probiotic bacteria found in live-cultures yoghurt).
The lead researcher Alban Gaultier said:
“The big hope for this kind of research is that we won’t need to bother with complex drugs and side effects when we can just play with the microbiome. It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health — and your mood.”
So this oft-mocked idea is getting more mainstream.
And while the jury’s out on pro-biotic yoghurt brands you pick up in shops, it’s vital that you know about these new ideas if you suffer chronic stomach pain or symptoms like anxiety and depression.
Both are terrible things to endure long-term, and can ruin your enjoyment of life and relationships.
Our recommendation for a healthy stomach
One natural recommendation for stomach problems I told you about a few weeks ago is to try something called Propargile.
This is a combination of clay, pollen and propolis.
In particular the pollen ingredient is rich in prebiotics, which promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in your intestines.
Meanwhile the clay ingredient helps flush out the waste products in your digestive system while propolis works as an anti-inflammatory.
The result is a three-pronged natural remedy for stomach pain, bloating and discomfort.
You can read more about it here.
Or can you help us?
If you happen to use probiotic medicines, yoghurts and drinks, do let us know your opinions and experiences! It’s good to know what’s working for people so we can get investigating reliable suppliers of new breakthroughs and remedies.
In the meantime, the People’s Doctor’s research team will test, trial and seek out probiotics – as well as a host of other natural remedies – hopefully for a future recommendation.
That’s it. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I’ll email you again soon.
Until then, stay healthy!