Heal your gut, Heal your brain
Depression and other mood disorders are often linked with inflammation in the brain and other parts of the body, especially the gut. Psychobiotics is a fancy word first coined in 2013 by for treating gut health to heal the brain.
Brain chemistry changes happen in response to the bodily systems with the microbiome being a leading cause. Drugs that treat brain chemistry miss the point and often are toxic and lead to other complications.
Here’s the deal,
Treating the brain with antidepressants that cross the blood-brain barrier leaking toxic chemicals into your precious brain is not the most effective or efficient treatment because it does not resolve the root cause of depression.
It merely drugs the brain, making some people feel a little better for a little while.
But there’s a catch,
You get side effects from all pharmaceuticals, and in this case, it isn’t necessary long-term for many people, because there are other options. And any positive results don’t last.
The inflammation frequently begins in the gut though depression and mood disorders of many kinds can also be caused by
- Nutritional imbalances
- Chemical exposure to glyphosate and other pesticides
- Thyroid imbalances
- Birth control pills
- EMF exposure
And many more drugs…
There are many other physical causes of depression that do not originate in the brain. Depression may be a symptom, not an illness.
The importance of your gut for healing depression
The enteric nervous system resides in your gut and the microbes that live there produce the same neurotransmitters that your brain does; Dopamine, GABA, serotonin, and more.
The two systems communicate from gut to brain via the vagus nerve known as the “gut-brain axis.”
Over 70% of your nervous system resides in the walls of your intestinal lining. and coincidentally around 70% of serotonin is made in the gut.
How did your gut microbiome get damaged?
Your gut microbiome can become damaged or inflamed due to medications your mom took while pregnant. Or you can miss out on good probiotic strains during birth if you were born via C-section.
Most infants are given antibiotics and exposed to harmful microbes in the hospital environment. And this can lead to suboptimal microbiome to begin life with, making you more prone to disease.
Fewer mothers breastfeed now, and we are exposed to refined foods growing up. This makes modern humans much more susceptible to inflammation and depression, among other conditions.
How you got inflammation is not as important as the fact that you can get well without drugs.
Even if you had a good start as an infant, your nutrition in later life could damage the gut. The list of food additives that may contribute to depression continues to grow.
You have toxins in food. Then there are the general stressors during childhood and later on.
Plus environmental toxins, chemicals, food allergies, etc. It is pretty easy to mess up the microbiome.
This affects the immune system, and nervous system and is a factor in many inflammatory diseases from MS to arthritis, heart disease, obesity and of course, depression and anxiety.
Pro-inflammatory foods VS anti-inflammatory foods
- Diets high in refined sugar
- Refined, denatured low fiber foods
- Gluten can increase depression risk even in non-celiac individuals
- GMOs contain glyphosate which annihilates good bacteria in the gut
- Artificial flavorings
- Dairy products
- Diets high in meat and saturated fats
- Plant-based high fiber diets
- Fresh organic fruits and veggies
- Non-gluten whole grains (here is a list of non-gluten grains by holistic nutritionist Yuri Elkaim)
- Healthy fats, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds, like flax and chia, omega three essential fatty acids
Some practitioners emphasize a Paleo diet with a lot of organic animal products such as bone broth, red meat, and collagen.
Paleo or “ancestral diet” practitioners get great results, but it is hard to find meat and fish that is not contaminated even if it is organic. So it might not be a good idea to eat a ton of animal products long term.
There are a lot of recent studies that show a predominantly plant-based diet is better for treating the microbiome and healing depression.
Here are a couple of links on plant-based vs. high protein paleo for depression:
- Vegan food for fighting depression
- The best diet to fight depression
- Plant-based VS Animal-based diets for the microbiome which one is better for inflammation?
- What is the natural human diet?
- Lead in organic animal foods, bone broth, and calcium supplements.
Why hasn’t your doctor told you any of this?
These studies have been around since 2009 and even earlier. Your doctor never mentioned them because they have not heard of them. Instead, you may have been given a prescription and maybe even some excellent talk therapy so you can white knuckle it through life instead of treating the source of your symptoms of unease, depression anxiety, and pain.
Psychobiotics, treating depression by treating the gut, is simple; that is why it has not taken hold. It seems too easy, and that is why very few people use it.
Oh, and by the way…
The pharmaceutical companies that peddle antidepressants are not happy about anything that cures people without drugs. Drug companies back many of the studies for antidepressants and want us to toe the line so they can keep profiting from our misery as patients.
That’s not all,
Drug companies were able to get FDA approval for antidepressants because studies have been rigged to leave out studies that did not show positive results. And most drug companies only need two favorable studies to get FDA approval. What if a drug company decided to publish only studies that showed positive results for antidepressants?
It seems too good to be true
Our medical system makes things a lot more complicated than they need to be. They often disconnect one system from another treating minute systems instead of seeing the body as a holistic system.
Curing depression and other mood disorders often do not require pharmaceuticals or anything expensive. Simply by eating a natural plant-based diet with fermented foods and taking a strong enough high-quality probiotic that can get to the intestines undigested, you can heal chronic fatigue, depression, MS and other illnesses related to inflammation and immune system issues.
The mainstream medical community doesn’t want to hear about alternative treatments
The mainstream medical world is invested in treating patients with pharmaceuticals. Doctors are stuck owing millions for an education on how to treat with pharmaceuticals.
Many patients have been on these drugs for years and have been told they must stay on them for life. If this turns out to be wrong, those of us who have suffered side effects from these drugs will have to admit we might have suffered unnecessarily.
It’s not fun to feel like you’ve been duped.
It is no surprise that a lot of people are resistant to try simply dietary changes. Many people have been on antidepressants for years and are physically dependent on them.
It can be a life-threatening and challenging process to get off of antidepressants. Often it requires careful preparation, and many prescribers of these meds have no idea how to help patients get off of psychopharmaceuticals.
Even big pharma is beginning to admit that getting off of antidepressants is difficult due to the withdrawal that can go on for months and leave scars for years. But they don’t even dare to call it drug withdrawal. It is euphemistically known as “discontinuation syndrome.”
To admit that you have been duped and try a new and radically none-drug path is brave indeed.
Denial of natural depression treatments is rampant
I have scoured hundreds of books and articles and forums on depression and mood disorders looking for answers. Every book or article I come across about someone who has recovered from major depression, through natural diet, supplements, probiotic use and or a combination of non-drug interventions, has at least one negative comment from someone who has been on antidepressants for years and does not believe you can heal without drugs.
Every book on Amazon about natural depression resolution has a few one-star reviews stating that how the book is somehow stupid or irrelevant, how depression is a disease and how you have to take meds for life.
It doesn’t matter how compelling the evidence to the contrary is or how many studies linking inflammation to depression there are, as these studies and articles:
- From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain
- Cytokines sing the blues: inflammation and the pathogenesis of depression
- The role of inflammation in depression: from evolutionary imperative to modern treatment
- Psychobiotics: An emerging probiotic in psychiatric practice
- Psychobiotics: Probiotics for Your Mind
- Psychobiotics: Bacteria to Brighten your Mood
Some people will never admit there might be another path besides pharmaceuticals for healing major depression, chronic low-level depression, bipolar depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
No one wants to admit that we have
- been sick for longer than was necessary
- relinquished our power to doctors who were wrong
- taken toxic drugs that have damaged our brains
It is not an easy thing to admit you have been duped by big-pharma for years and years
But there comes a point when you have to ask yourself; Do I want to get well, or do I want to be right?
Personally, I just wanted to get well.
I am willing to admit I may have been wrong about big pharma.
All the years of shelling out money for talk therapy and all the meds I have tried might have made things worse than they had to be.
I may have messed things up and complicated my life unnecessarily when I could have had simple, low-cost alternatives and had years of good health and a lot more career success and money.
Instead, here I am, almost 60 with no retirement savings, and in the process of healing a shitty life.
Hey, I didn’t know.
I was doing what everyone else was doing. I was being fed a lie, and it took me a while to wake up.
It isn’t a pretty picture, and it isn’t fun to admit. But I am feeling a little better every day now that I have taken my health into my own hands.
What does all this mean to you, and how can you use it?
As humans, we undergo a lot of stress. As kids and as adults. This can be long-term emotional as well as physical. It can come from foods we eat, from being given too many antibiotics as an infant or later in life, leading to susceptibility.
Stressors can ruin the gut microbiome through many different factors.
When the body is inflamed, the brain becomes inflamed.
You end up with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders and often several physical symptoms as well.
They have been treating mood disorders by smothering symptoms with drugs and trying to talk your way through it with therapy.
When you correct the issue with the gut the immune system heals, the brain heals, and you rapidly feel better.
But before you can do that you have to face that you have been duped, morn the loss of months or years of suffering, lost relationships, lost jobs lost money, ruined careers, lost opportunities land lost time because you weren’t well enough to pursue them.
Getting on with your treatment
Then you have to pick yourself up, clean up your diet, get some blood tests and a stool sample and perhaps some other tests for thyroid imbalances, methylation problems, and histamine sensitivity. None of these tests are all that costly or complicated.
You will have to do a bit of reading and research, order some probiotics and supplements by mail and get on with your healing. You will notice that everyone does not agree on what ratios of fats, complex carbs, and proteins you need.
Many specialists will say to cut out all legumes and grains for a while. Other specialists will tell you to eat non-gluten grains, and as many beans as you like.
You will have to experiment and use your intuition and see what works for you.
The trick is to find doctors who are familiar with this new system of treatment and testing. Finding a good healthcare practitioner who is on your side can be the most challenging part.
But don’t give up if your regular doctor scoffs at you and says there is nothing wrong with your gut or your thyroid. Just keep moving until you get the support you need.
These days more and more MD’s are turning to functional and integrative medicine and will know how to help even if your regular doctor does not. You can also work with a Naturopathic doctor acupuncturist or another practitioner who specializes in treating systems, not just parts of people.
You can start here:
- The Institute for Functional Medicine has a list of practitioners nationally
- The Neuro-Nutrient Institute has a list of practitioners who focus on natural treatments
- Peninsula Integrative Medicine if you are in Silicon Valley
Best protocol to heal your gut microbiome
The best book on treating depression naturally is by Kelly Brogan, MD called A Mind of Your Own. She gives you a four-week protocol on how to get on a new path. She even has a section on tapering off medications if you are interested. Download a free chapter here
She also has a more extended program with lots of free videos, Here’s my affiliate link
- Learning to cook whole organic foods
- clean out the cupboards and detox your body and your home
- Stop dying your hair and using toxic makeup, lotions, etc
- Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry
- Psychobiotics: Bacteria For Your Brain?
- From gut to brain: the inflammation connection
- Malaise, melancholia, and madness: the evolutionary legacy of an inflammatory bias.
- Methylwho? Why You Should Know About Methylation
- How to improve your gut microbiome in a day
- American Gut
- 3 Steps I Took To Heal My Gut & Regain My Health
- 3 Tips for a Healthy Gut Biome (Hint: Yogurt is Not One of Them) histamine issues
- 10 Ways to Cultivate Good Gut Bacteria and Reduce Depression
- 10 Ways To Improve The Gut Microbiome plus histamine issues
- Here’s Exactly How Long It Takes To Heal Your Gut + Microbiome
- Online testing for the microbiome