Mental Health May Rest in Your Gut

by Dr. Deedra Mason, Director of Clinical Education & Research

The mind body connection is not nearly as “fringe”, today in medicine, as it once was.

Those at UCLA have recently demonstrated a way to modulate brain function, with a simple dietary ingredient, doing a whole lot more than just proving this point.
The brain sends signals to the gut, this is why stress and other emotions contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms. It is the tenet behind Fibromyalgia, IBS and the higher rates of auto-immune disorders in females. Researchers at UCLA report based on human trials, the signals can travel the opposite way as well. Treating your Gut may be a window to treating the mind.

The study showed bacteria ingested in food affects brain function. Women participants who ingested pro-biotics had, both in resting and active states, improved emotional recognition compared to those without a focus on improved gut microbiota.

Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, lead author of the study states. “Our findings indicate that some of the contents of yogurt may actually change the way our brain responds to the environment. When we consider the implications of this work, the old sayings ‘you are what you eat’ and ‘gut feelings’ take on new meaning.