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Article: How intestinal inflammation causes depression

Wie Darmentzündungen Depressionen verursachen

How intestinal inflammation causes depression

Depression is one of the most common causes of occupational disability worldwide. It is estimated that around 322 million people around the world have this illness - that is more than 4.4 percent of the world's population. It is not only those affected who suffer from the effects, but also families, communities and society as a whole.

The causes of depression vary. However, modern research is increasingly linking it to poor gut health. Inflammatory signals released in the gut can travel to the brain, impairing brain function and potentially triggering depression.

This means that many of the almost 70 percent of Germans who suffer from gastrointestinal complaints could also have depression.

Depression: A warning signal from the body

As a rule, depression is a warning signal: something is wrong and urgently needs to be put right. All too often it is an intestinal inflammation caused by the modern diet, excessive sugar or alcohol consumption, food intolerances, an imbalance in the gut microbiome or chronic infections.

Other physical and mental ailments are also linked to poor gut health. These include autoimmunity, anxiety, stress, weak immunity and even neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

A diseased gut can affect the brain, and therefore mental wellbeing, in a number of ways. Below are four ways that gut issues lead to mental imbalance.

1. intestinal inflammation

Inflammation in the gut sends signals to the brain through various pathways and disrupts its normal function. One important mechanism is the release of inflammatory molecules such as cytokines, which cross the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain, they disrupt the delicate balance of neurotransmitters, which are crucial for regulating mood and emotions.

Studies have shown that increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines are associated with depressive symptoms.

These cytokines also cause inflammation in the brain and slow down the transmission of signals between nerves. This can lead to symptoms such as brain fog, depression, fatigue and loss of motivation.

2. leaky gut

Leaky gut is a condition in which the intestinal lining is damaged. This condition can be caused by unhealthy gut bacteria, poor dietary habits, food intolerances and chronic inflammation.

As a result, harmful substances such as pathogens, toxins and undigested food particles enter the bloodstream through the damaged intestinal barrier. These substances trigger an immune response that leads to systemic inflammation. This inflammation can in turn affect the brain and contribute to depressive symptoms.

At the same time, conditions such as leaky gut affect the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. In other words, a leaky gut often leads to a "leaky brain".

In this way, harmful substances pass through the blood-brain barrier into the brain and activate immune cells. This leads to inflammation in the brain, a deterioration in brain function and depression.

3. blood sugar

Research suggests that an imbalance in blood sugar can contribute to depression and other mood disorders. The gut plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels.

For example, an imbalanced blood sugar level may be due to gut dysbiosis (an excess of bad gut bacteria). This affects energy levels, emotional balance and general mental well-being.

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