Gut microbiota is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi, and microbes.
This has been linked to depression, which is one of the leading burdens of all diseases in Australia. The most common treatments used for depression boost the activity of the serotonin signalling system, which psychiatry had long thought to be exclusively located in the brain. However, we now know that 95% of the body’s serotonin is actually contained in specialised cells in the gut, and these serotonin-containing cells are influenced by what we eat, by chemicals released from certain species of gut microbes, and by signals that the brain sends to them, informing them about our emotional state. Remarkably, these cells are tightly connected to sensory nerves that signal directly back into the brain’s emotion regulating centres, making them an important hub within the gut-brain axis.
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Find out how the food you eat affects your mood and mental health and what you can do to harness this knowledge to improve your own wellbeing.