The Gut-Brain Axis Mood Link

The Gut-Brain Axis Mood Link

Conventional medicine is finally recognizing the link between your intestinal gut community and various psychological responses. This is a cycle that alternative medicine has been addressing for centuries. It has been known that the more diverse and live plant based your diet is the more chances that depression, anxiety and other cerebral struggles could be minimized.

Now, conventional medicine has slapped a label on it called, the gut-brain axis which describes how your good and bad gut bacteria may be linked to your mood and more. As studies mount, doctors are already experimenting with the intricate reduction or replenishment of live cultures in the human gut.

Your intestinal community is ground zero for your immune system and when good and bad live bacteria fall out of balance, many systemic compromises could occur. When this imbalance manifests it is believed that the brain’s reaction could trigger a variety of adverse responses.

Therefore, the gut-brain axis may be ground zero in and of itself for unconventionally managing and possibly curing many ailments.


One of the most interesting theories regarding the gut-brain axis is how the condition autism may be affected. According to the United Nations, approximately 70 million people worldwide are being diagnosed under the spectrum of this affliction and not being able to find any causal link remains troubling.

However, new research is now emerging which is connecting the vast difference of gut bacteria between people with autism and those without. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that those suffering from autism have three and a half times more indication of intestinal troubles, such as chronic diarrhea and constipation, than those not on the spectrum.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology studied mice with autism and found they carried an abundance of a specific molecule called 4EPS in their blood. This molecule is believed to be leaked from the gut (many of those with autism develop ‘leaky gut syndrome’ which is when intestinal bacteria permeates into the circulatory system causing harm).

When researchers replenished the mice with a specific probiotic (good bacteria) called B. fragilis, the 4EPS levels subsided, leaky gut closed and autistic manifestations such as repetitive movement and anxiety no longer presented.

Paul Patterson, a professor of biology at Caltech who co-authored the study believes that,

“If you block the gastrointestinal problem, you can treat the behavioral symptoms,”

Mood Enhancer

With research of autism’s response to gut-brain axis probiotic therapy, the same application could be applied to healthy individuals for enhancing mood. Anxiety and depression could be the result of dealing with mood swings and is often a difficult cycle to get out of.

Now, studies are showing that a daily probiotic may help rebalance your gut which could be the cause of your mood struggles.

The New York Times cites a well regarded 2011 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Researchers from the University College Cork in Ireland and McMaster University in Ontario studied the effects of probiotic bacteria-laden broth (Lactobacillus rhamnosus) fed to stressed mice.

John Cryan, the neuroscientist who designed the study, comments to the Times about the rodent’s turnaround,

‘‘They behaved as if they were on Prozac,…They were more chilled out and more relaxed.’’

It is believed that the neural (nerve related) chemistry of the mice was altered by the probiotic. Bryan and co-author Ted Dinan coined the phrase “psychobiotics” after, according to the Times, they theorized that,

“…micro-organisms in the gut tickle a sensory nerve ending in the fingerlike protrusion lining the intestine and carry that electrical impulse up the vagus nerve and into the deep-brain structures thought to be responsible for elemental emotions like anxiety.”

In a 2015 study published in the Annals of Gastroenterology by Italian researchers concluded that,

“Strong evidence suggests that gut microbiota has an important role in bidirectional interactions between the gut and the nervous system. It interacts with CNS[central nervous system] by regulating brain chemistry and influencing neuro-endocrine systems associated with stress response, anxiety and memory function. Many of these effects appear to be strain-specific, suggesting a potential role of certain probiotic strains as novel adjuvant strategy for neurologic disorders.”

The gut-brain axis mood link could be the beginning of simply supplementing the gut with an exact match of good bacteria for healing. There just may come a day that Big Pharma diminishes and instead all you do is submit a stool sample to your doctor for a microbe readjustment instead of taking medicine.