Depression affects more than 16 million Americans who are 18 years and older. Currently, there is no medical test to diagnose depression.
But your gut instinct may be the key to diagnosing and treating depression.
Your gut is filled with good and bad bacteria.
“They are dynamically interacting with our physiology, with our moods, with our medical health,” explained Bruce Stevens, a professor at the University of Florida.
Stevens found those living with depression have different gut bacteria than those with a healthy mental status. When a person has too much of the bad gut bacteria that can cause whole-body inflammation, including brain inflammation, that can be linked to depression. But the gut bacteria can also lead to a treatment for depression.
“Some of the bacteria are responsive to certain antibiotics,” Stevens said.
Diet can also help.
“High fiber, low sodium diets, and certain kinds of food groups can promote good guy bacteria,” Stevens said.
Stevens also found there’s a link between gut bacteria and high blood pressure. In fact, people with high blood pressure and depression have completely different gut bacteria than people with only depression or only high blood pressure.