Nutritious Bytes

Dr. Debé's blog on metabolically tailored nutrition and wellness

Depressed? It's all in your...Gut!?

The Mind-Body Continuum

As crazy as it may sound, many cases of depression stem from an unhealthy state in the gastrointestinal tract. When you think of depression what organ do you think of? Probably the brain, right? The brain is important when it comes to depression but the brain does not function in a vacuum. The old song goes something like: "The knee bone's connected to the shin bone. The shin bone's connected to the ankle bone. The ankle bone's..."  The brain is connected to the "gut".

Actually, the brain is connected to every other part of the body. Our focus for now is the contribution of gastrointestinal dysfunction to depression. The single most powerful study I can site is entitled: "The gut-brain barrier in major depression: intestinal mucosal dysfunction with an increased translocation of LPS from gram negative enterobacteria (leaky gut) plays a role in the inflammatory pathophysiology of depression." Don't get intimated by this daunting title. Let me tell you the important conclusion of this study. It was found that people with depression had higher blood levels of antibodies against intestinal bacteria. In a healthy state, the intestinal tract lining acts as a selective barrier, absorbing nutrients and keeping bacteria, yeast, and their toxic byproducts out of the blood stream. When the intestinal barrier weakens, it is referred to as "Leaky Gut". With Leaky Gut Syndrome, bacterial waste products and inadequately digested food particles enter systemic circulation, resulting in inflammation and toxicity.

The conclusion of the above study is that depression, in some cases, is the result of neurologic inflammatory response to poisoning from intestinal bacteria. The way I treat this is to heal the leaky gut. This requires an investigation into the many possible causes. I also have the patient supplement with products that help the intestinal lining to heal. The most important supplement is probably Glutagenics, which contains DGL, aloe, and glutamine. Glutamine is the main fuel used by the cells of the small intestine.

Depression in many cases may emanate from the intestinal tract. There are other important biological factors that contribute to depression including: blood sugar imbalance, hormonal imbalance, heavy metal and environmental toxicity, food allergies, and nutrient deficiencies.

Click here to watch my recorded webinar on this topic on my youtube channel