Psychoneuroimmunology: The Link Between Your Brain and Gut Health

InflammationDid you know that people who struggle with chronic disease are more likely to be depressed? And it works the other way too; people who are depressed are more likely to suffer from chronic disease! Well, studies are finding definite links between inflammation (which comes with Chronic Disease) and mental health, and as it turns out, your gut health could be the source of the problem.

Inflammation or Depression: What came first?

Studies show that symptoms of depression effect both hormones and neurotransmitters. However, inflammation appears to be the source of the depression. So, it is important to single out what exactly causes inflammation. The cause of Inflammation may be your diet, stress, toxins, or infection. In addition, inflammation happens to be a reliable determining factor of depressive symptoms such as:
  • Alterations in perception
  • Avoidance
  • Flat mood
  • Metabolic changes
  • Slower cognition

The biology behind Inflammation and Mental Health

Understanding the biology behind inflammation and mental health is very important to the medical field. And so far, researchers have made some remarkable breakthroughs. For instance, certain white blood cells called monocytes in patients suffering from bipolar disorder, melancholic depression, or postpartum depression were found to be expressing genes that promoted inflammation. At the same time, those inflammation-promoting genes decreased sensitivity of the stress hormone, cortisol, further benefiting the spread of inflammation. In another clinical trial, a certain pain killer proved to be effective in relieving depression while another drug used to fight the inflammatory skin condition psoriasis, improved mood. Antidepressants have also demonstrated the ability to produce anti-inflammatory effects. So in simpler terms, whatever affects your mental health also affects how your body handles inflammation. And whatever affects inflammation also affects your mental health.

Your Brain-Gut relationship

Now that you know how closely your brain and gut work together, here are some more facts you should know about your gut:
  • Over 70 percent of your immune system is located in the gut
  • Your gut contains 10 times the number of cells in your body
  • Your gut contains 150 times the number of genes in your DNA
Therefore, it not only makes sense that any disturbance in your gut flora can easily trigger inflammation, but also individuals who suffer from a mental disorder are at a higher risk of developing inflammation. If you find this confusing you are not alone! So bring your questions or for more more information on this topic  just ‘Ask a Naturopath’ right here at Mr Vitamins.