Previously, I mentioned the gut brain connection with reference to depression. I came across some more up to date information regarding the gut brain axis that is only 200 years old. The highlights are as follows: In 1817 James Parkinson noted that many of the patients with what was to be later called Parkinson’s Disease had gastrointestinal issues. Approximately 80% of these patients suffered from constipation. This doesn’t mean if you haven’t gone regularly that you are going to develop this severely debilitating disease. I just thought it was interesting that 200 years ago, we knew about the gut-brain connection.
Currently, the literature reflects that the microbiome does affect the function of the brain. Those little bacteria that doctors used to want to kill on sight/site affect the development of the brain, the activity of circuits in the brain, and certain behaviors. Specific molecules made by gut bacteria mediate the gut-brain connection.
They have discovered that the microbiomes are different between a Parkinson’s patient and a healthy patient. In one experiment, they transplanted the microbiota from the human Parkinson’s patients into germ-free mice. The mice, developed severe Parkinson’s symptoms, confirming their theory that the microbiome was contributing to the symptoms. I’m even a little skeptical on that one and I’m trying to find the original studies.
The researchers identified the genes that are responsible for inducing Parkinson’s symptoms, and recognized that these genes dictate microbial pathways. Whether or not the microbiome is responsible for inducing Parkinson’s is complete speculation. The good news is that the microbiome is being assessed for its influence on neurological diseases. This is good news because up until recently, the goal of medicine was to killing every bacteria on the planet.
Now for the hard/not so hard stuff.
High blood levels of an undesirable blood protein called homocysteine are associated with a decrease in cognition, depression and other brain disorders. You could take highly dangerous drugs to possibly help this, or you could take Vitamin B complex that is known to resolve this issue.
Our diet could provide many natural antidepressants. Blueberries, grapes, pomegranates are not only good for you, but good for your mood swings that may be driving everyone around you into a bad mood. Many of these anti-depressant fruits and vegetables contain molecules like quercetin, catechin, and resveratrol that control homocysteine. Homocysteine is typically tested for with regard to cardiovascular disease. So it is good to not have a lot of it. Homocysteine binds to iron and copper. These two minerals are suspected to be major culprits in the onset of brain disease and depression. We can naturally chelate these harmful minerals out of us. Of course we need some iron and copper, but we’re usually exposed to way too much.
A diet rich in glutamate, particularly snacks, that over-stimulate brain cells known as excitotoxicity, combined with candy and fructose-sweetened beverages, increases your odds of depression. It is not coincidental that mental disorders are more prevalent among sugar cravers.
Coincidentally at the other end, we know that candida infections are associated with psychiatric issues. An overgrowth of Candida (yeast infection) is created by over-consumption of refined sugars.
The American food producers addressed the criticism over sugar-laden foods such as fructose corn syrup laced into peanut butter, bacon, canned foods, etc. by inventing artificial sweeteners that increase your appetite since your brain can’t be fooled even though you are. Your subconscious knows it is not being fed what it needs, so you eat more. Artificial sweeteners create more depression. This may be depressing to some of you.
The diet is a modifiable risk factor for mood, memory and aberrant behavior problems. However, diets in hospitals and food choices in grocery stores have not changed for the better. High-fructose corn syrup became popular and our grocery stores drove us all a little more insane than we already were.
It’s not just depression, it is a whole range of behaviors, ranging from attention deficit disorder to mood swings (bipolar), autistic behavior (socially withdrawn), anxiety and many other mental disorders. Our diet can affect us and doctors diagnose and treat us with synthetic molecules as mood-altering drugs.
This means that American medicine address’s the problem by prescribing more antidepressant drugs. One out of six Americans is on something that is classified as a psychiatric drug. Talk about putting out a fire with gasoline. There are over a quarter million children in the US under the age of 1 that are being given antidepressant and other psychotropic drugs. There are more than 8 million kids under age 18 on brain destroying prescription drugs. There is no data to substantiate the use of these drugs in the developing brain, but that is not stopping anyone from prescribing them.
Stay tuned for Part 3.