- Depression and Anxiety
- Fermented Foods and Fiber
It’s estimated by the Anxiety and Depression Association ofAmerica (ADAA) that 3.3 million Americans adults suffer from anxiety. The stat for depression is even higher with depression being 16.1 million american adults, also an ADAA stat. With these conditions affecting so many people its no wonder there are so many anxiety and depressions medications prescribed. The one thing about medicine in America is that, for the most part, a general practitioner will prescribe a pharmaceutical. This only acts as a band-aid if you will as opposed to looking at what is causing the condition itself.
SSRI (as an example of a “band-aid”)
As an example selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors are often prescribed for depression. Depression is associated with low levels of serotonin. Inhibiting the re-uptake of serotonin from the synaptic cleft is the action of an SSRI and the reason its prescribed. This makes the effects of the available serotonin last longer. I believe the much better approach is to work on increasing serotonin. The root cause is never addressed.
Depression & Anxiety
As mentioned above depression is associated with low levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter and actually a precursor to melatonin. These neurotransmitters have a base of the amino acid tryptophan. Anxiety is often the result of low serum levels of GABA, low dopamine, and elevated norepinephrine.
The gut is where approx. 90% of serotonin is produced. Certain cells in the intestinal tract, enterochromaffin cells (EC), are stimulated by microbes within the gut to produce this neurotransmitter. Also 60% of dopamine is produced in the gut and certain bacteria in the gut directly influence GABA receptors. Additionally there are also a large number of bacteria in the microbiome produce GABA themselves. In times past, before refrigeration, we used to preserve our foods with other methods.The main one being fermentation. In multiple studies two strains of bacteria have been shown to be especially effective.
These two bacteria, lactobacillus helveticus and bifidobacterium longum, in human trials stated that treatment with these two strains where able to reduce depression scores by 50% and a 55% improvement in anxiety scores. That being said I would like to point out something that Dr. David Perlmutter mentioned in his book “Brain Maker” about how there has been multiple studies that show that consuming the flavonoids in cacao had a “striking increase” in the amount of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Fermented Foods and fiber
Fermentation is just the process of letting certain bacteria process food material, my favorite being cabbage. While this process is taking place the bacteria start to colonize and increase in population. These are some of the same bacteria that process our food once it is in the gut. Therefore eating fermented, non-pasteurized, foods increase the populations in your own personal micro biome. Many of the beneficial microbes feed on fiber. Fibers of all kinds are great, but some fibers are better than others. Insoluble fibers like inulin from Jerusalem artichokes are so effective they are referred to as prebiotics. There are other powerful fibers out there like resistant starches contained in seeds, nuts, and grains. Thats why I recommend at least one one salad a day and don’t be afraid to dress it with nuts and seeds!
Because of the above information we have made sure that our mBreakfast has a decent amount of fiber in it. Also being a cacao based mix it has the flavonoids that Dr. Perlmutter mentions in his book. Also, speaking of cacao, for microbiome health try our new mRaw Bliss. These aren’t just a tasty little treat, but they are loaded with probiotics in addition to prebiotics. For these reasons alone this is my go to for keeping my micro biome healthy. To grab either of these fine products go to our online store, just click the pic, or stop by our award winning wellness center!
and stay tuned for next weeks blog to hear the nutrient side of the equation.
Above all, say YES to your health!
- Perlmutter, D. (2016). Brain maker: the power of gut microbes to heal and protect your brain for life. Place of publication not identified: Little, Brown.