Probiotics in Depression: Prevention and Treatment

Tempo de Leitura: 3 minutos

If your question is aboutrobotic p in depression, understand that the intestinal microbiota is a complex set of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, archaea and fungi that inhabit the human gastrointestinal tract and surprisingly, bacteria are essential for a number of physiological processes. In addition, it is worth remembering that mitochondria, basal cellular organelles in order to have the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and ensure the organism functioning properly, seems to have its evolutionary origin related to
, highlighting the role of bacteria in maintaining life, health and disease.

The gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system communicate through a complex interaction mediated by the intestinal microbiota that occurs by neural pathways through the enteric nervous system and vagus, endocrine nerve through modulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis modulated by cortisol or immune by cytokines. These pathways are often altered in psychiatric disorders.

Probiotics in Depression: Epigenetics

Probiotics in depression, go before the intervention in the microbiota. Being then the intestinal microbiota a factor modulated by epigenetics it is assumed that it can be used to treat and improve the symptoms involved. That said, approaches that are considered psychobiotic sit- onto the scene, since they tend to improve mental health through their microta modifying properties.

Among them are, first, the dietary modification for diets rich in non-digestible fibers (prebiotics) and living microorganisms (probiotics), in the background can be used symbiotic (combinations of pre and probiotics), post-biotics (bacterial fermentation products, such as short chain fatty acids) and fecal microbiota transplantation.

Probiotics and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis

Intestinal microbes constantly interact with the brain through a variety of pathways, including immune regulation, metabolism of neurotransmitters, short-chain fatty acids and vagaly aferents. Furthermore, the intestinal microbiota determines stress responsiveness by influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) and cortisol responses to stress, in turn, can be altered by several probiotics. Therefore, since high levels of stress are interconnected with anxiety and depression it becomes subjective that when treating these intestinal dysfunctions, remission of various pathologies is obtained. Therefore, it is believed that probiotics contribute to a balanced intestinal environment, suppressing pathogens, interacting with the host microbiota and favoring the diversity of microorganisms present in it.

One of the main determinants of the composition of the intestinal microbiota is also probiotics from the diet, with studies indicating that Animal and vegetable diets cause dramatic changes in the intestinal microbiota in a few days while dietary styles, such as the Mediterranean diet, are rich in plant foods and fibers that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. As it comes to dietary supplements, there is little scientific evidence but Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber-based dietary supplements are widely tested as a complementary treatment for psychiatric disorders.

Although recent and uncertain, studies suggesting an inflammatory profile as a possible cause for the development of psychiatric disorders grow. In this context, short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate are important for the integrity of the central nervous system since they alter the expression of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the intestinal barrier that, when hyperpermeable, it can lead to the translocation of bacteria and bacterial antigens (such as lipopolysaccharides) into the bloodstream, causing and sustaining a low-grade chronic inflammation.

Probiotics x Treatment

Major depression is among the most prevalent disorders worldwide and is therefore extremely important in the context of public health. Studies indicate that these patients present significant differences in the composition of the intestinal microbiota compared to those without depression. Such studies suggest that the most promising strains for the treatment of depression are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, the time may vary from 6 to 13 weeks.

Moreover, it is important to understand about the specificity of each strain, such as different strains of the same species, demonstrating opposite effects in relation to psychological symptoms, while Lactobacillus rhamnosus does not affect mood or anxiety levels in healthy men, Lactobacillus casei (Shirota strain) improved mood in participants with low mood scores. Emphasizing the need to combine probiotics with a diet containing adequate amount of micro and macronutrients to promote the favorable development of intestinal flora, since these patients often have inadequate dietary patterns, in addition to the intestinal microbiome being also altered due to the use of psychotropic drugs.

Clinical practice

On probiotics in depression, prevention and treatment, it is clear that the area of nutrition and intestinal health is likely to become an important component in the biopsychosocial treatment model in psychiatry, making nutritional psychiatry indispensable in the prevention of psychiatric disorders, as well as metabolic comorbidities.

Bibliographic references

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Watch the video on the Science Play platform –
What Are Probiotics and How Do Probiotics Act?

Mörkl S, Butler MI, Holl A, Cryan JF, Dinan TG. Probiotics and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis: Focus on Psychiatry. Curr Nutr Rep. 2020 Sep;9(3):171-182. Doi: 10.1007/s13668-020-00313-5. Erratum in: Curr Nutr Rep. 2020 Jun 5;: PMID: 32406013; PMCID: PMC7398953.

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