Monday, March 13, 2017

[Depression Research] Can “Good Bacteria” in Yogurt Help?

A yogurt smoothie with fruit
Depression is one of the most common behavioral health issues. It affects nearly seven percent of the adult population and women have a much greater risk of being diagnosed with the condition. Regardless of socioeconomic status or race, women are twice as likely to experience a serious episode of depression at least once in their lifetime.

While it is relatively common, it is highly treatable using a combination of evidence-based and holistic therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, prescription medications and lifestyle modifications.

And, researchers may have discovered yet another treatment for depression. Yogurt.

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine explored the link between the microbiome of the gut and depression to better understand how your diet can impact your mental health.

To conduct this study, the scientists observed mice who were exhibiting symptoms of stress and depression.

"When you're stressed, you increase your chance of being depressed, and that's been known for a long, long time," said lead researcher, Alban Gaultier, PhD. "So the question that we wanted to ask is, does the microbiome participate in depression?"

They found that their exposure to a stressful environment actually changed the landscape of “good bacteria” in their intestinal tracts – resulting in lower levels of Lactobacillus.

To correct this imbalance, the researchers fed the mice a diet rich in the probiotic which is commonly found in live cultures of yogurt. The results were astounding.

After the levels of Lactobacillus returned to normal, the researchers were able to reverse their symptoms of depression.

"The big hope for this kind of research is that we won't need to bother with complex drugs and side effects when we can just play with the microbiome," explained Gaultier." It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health - and your mood."

As a next step, Gaultier and his team plan to study the effects of probiotic therapies as part of a clinical trial with patients experiencing the symptoms of depression.

While many more studies are needed to confirm these results, the initial findings from this study are certainly very promising.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders in Women

Given that individuals struggling with addiction are twice as likely to suffer from mood disorders (commonly referred to as a dual-diagnosis), we firmly believe in the value of treating the whole woman. That's why many women who participate in our transitional residential care program benefit from receiving a psychiatric consultation as part of the recovery process.

If you are dealing with a substance abuse issue and a behavioral health issue, like depression, please give us a call at (866) 746-1558. At Rising Roads Recovery, we’re here to help you.

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