What is the connection between the overuse of antibiotics and anxiety and depression?
This was a question that’s been going through my mind ever since I finished reading a book about the overuse of antibiotics in livestock.
Have you ever heard the saying “I had a “gut feeling” that something was wrong”? The brain and gut actually communicate with each other.
There are chemicals called neurotransmitters that are important for your nerve cells and brain to function. The neurotransmitter responsible for improving mood and positive feelings is serotonin.
It’s interesting that 90% of serotonin comes from your gut. It’s even more interesting that there is a connection between your brain and your gut.
What does this have to do with anxiety? Well, your gut consists of an environment made up of microorganisms called a microbiome. Some of these microorganisms or gut bacteria species can create neurotransmitters. Along with most serotonin; about half of all dopamine comes from this environment.
Antibiotics are a lifesaver when prescribed for a bacterial infection. If used properly they are good, but if they are overused problems can occur. Overuse of antibiotics can disrupt the gut microbiome and cause gut dysbiosis and dysfunction. The decline in beneficial gut bacteria has been linked to increased anxiety and depression.
Antibiotics have been given to livestock on industrial farms for years. When we eat meat products like poultry, beef and pork we are exposing ourselves to more antibiotics than what we actually need.
Serotonin is responsible for our good mood and positive feelings. When our microbiome is disrupted studies show that the amount of serotonin declines. Symptoms include increased anxiety, insomnia, depressed mood, aggression, impulsive behavior and poor memory. Numerous psychological conditions have been linked to low serotonin levels including panic disorder and social anxiety disorder.
The decline of beneficial gut bacteria has been linked to anxiety and depression along with ADHD, parkinson’s disease, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.
I went on to a facebook forum and asked other people the same question about the overuse of antibiotics and I received some testimonials.
“Just finished a course of amoxicillin and felt like a dark cloud is hanging over me that can’t shake and that just doesn’t seem like me”!
“This makes sense to me. I have acute anxiety disorder since I was 13. Before that I took antibiotics 5 times a day with milk then in my teens I started getting a once a month antibiotic shot”!
I’ve found it helpful to take a probiotic along with the medication that I take for anxiety. I still had symptoms of anxiety and depression along with weight gain. Not all probiotics are created equal the one I take specifically for anxiety and depression is from “Garden for Life: Mood+digestive+immune system”. Other things that help gut health is a high fiber diet, eating fewer carbohydrates and eating less sugar.
Since I started taking a probiotic my mood has significantly better, my appetite has gotten under control and I no longer crave carbs.
What do you think? Leave me a comment!