In a new study from King’s College London, researchers found that there is a common, overlapping environment in the gut bacteria of people living with mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
They found that people experiencing these illnesses are more likely to have gut biomes that are characterized both by a lack of anti-inflammatory-producing bacteria, as well as a higher amount of proinflammatory bacteria.
The research does not consider these biomarkers, but it does suggest that a greater awareness of gut health should be considered in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Gut microbiota is the large and dynamic community of microorganisms that live in the human gastrointestinal tract. This can include bacteria, viruses and fungi, as well as other types of microorganism.
Previous studies have pointed to the important role that gut microbiota plays in the development of mental illness.
In a diverse global sample, the team conducted a meta-analysis of 59 studies looking at changes in the gut microbiome.
They found that people experiencing depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis were consistently found to have lower levels of faecalibacterium and coprococcus, two types of bacteria that have an anti-inflammatory effect within the gut. F
Further analysis found that people with these illnesses had higher levels of Eggerthella, a bacterium with pro-inflammatory effects.
The team says that there is a significant overlap between gut health and the prevalence of mental illness, specifically in relation to the predominance of certain proinflammatory bacteria compared to anti-inflammatory bacteria.
This is the first review to assess changes in the gut microbiota in relation to a range of psychiatric disorders and evaluate their potential as biomarkers.
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The study is published in JAMA Psychiatry. One author of the study is Viktoriya Nikolova.
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