Eating for mental health: the gut-brain connection
Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017 5:45PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, October 11, 2017 5:51PM CST
Researchers are learning that many of the trillions of micro-organisms housed within a single body play a vital role in physical health.
Neuroscientist and nutritionist Orsha Magyar believes there is a vital connection between your gut health and your brain's wellbeing: "We do a lot of work with our patients on the gut microbiome, and how we can fuel that to improve our brain."
Our stomachs are home to billions and billions of microorganisms that researchers have shown to play an important role in making us well, and potentially, making us sick.
"We found that babies who went on to develop asthma were missing a couple of different gut bacteria," said Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba researcher Dr. Meghan Azad. "And so we're following that up with further studies to see if possibly replacing those microbes might help the babies prevent asthma."
Orsha Magyar says she believes there is a similar link between your microbiome and problems such as anxiety and depression.
That's why she suggests people use prebiotic foods such as fruit and chocolate and probiotics you can get through foods like yogurt. "It's really promising what we're seeing in terms of how powerful the gut is for the brain," said Magyar.
The problem, according to Dr. Azad, is that it's unlikely everyone will need the same probiotics. "But if we could analyze each person’s microbiome, and if they're not feeling well, scan their microbiome and see which particular microbes they're missing and maybe add those back."
But for now, that remains just a tantalizing possibility for the future.