How diet and gut bacteria could point to new treatments for depression

How diet and gut bacteria could point to new treatments for depression

Post on Pinterest
A diet rich in the amino acid proline has been linked to an increased prevalence of depression. Guillermo de la Torre / Stocksy
  • Antidepressants are often the first line of treatment for depression, but they can have side effects or may not work for many people.
  • Research is trying to determine if changing your diet can have some effect on depressive symptoms.
  • The new findings suggest that some people with high levels of the amino acid proline in their diet may experience more severe depression, but this depends largely on a person’s microbiome.

All over the world, some 280 million people, or 5% of the adult population, suffers from depression. The World Health Organization called it a “The leading cause of disability worldwide”. Currently available treatments such as antidepressants and behavioral therapies are effective for many people but are not appropriate or available to everyone.

Some research has suggested that diet may have an effect on depression. diet High in processed foods It has been linked to more severe symptoms, while eating more fresh foods of plant origin may Reduce symptoms.

Now, a study published in cell metabolismindicates that the severity of depression may be affected by a specific amino acid – proline.

The research also suggests that gut bacteria may influence how this amino acid is processed, and how it can counteract its depressive effects in some people.

The researchers used the . file Multi-omics Analysis approach – an integrated analysis of many different molecules. They controlled antidepressant and anxiety medications in their sample.

First, they analyzed the type and amount of amino acids in the study participants’ diets. They also analyzed blood and stool plasma samples from the participants.

Those with a higher level of proline in their diet reported more severe depression.

Proline can be metabolized to GABA, a neurotransmitter believed to help fight depression. However, high levels of proline can GABA production is disrupted.

Participants who reported more severe depression also tended to have higher plasma proline levels, indicating that the proline in their diet was not being metabolized effectively.

Some people who took large amounts of proline did not report worse symptoms. The researchers found that these people had lower plasma proline levels.

When analyzing the gut bacteria, they found that the microbiome was similar to that of participants who reported lower levels of depression.

The gut bacteria in those with high proline intake and low levels of depression contain species involved in the transport and metabolism of proline.

“There is no doubt that the microbiome influences proline levels, but what the levels are and how this affects mood/depression or other aspects of the body needs to be determined.”

– Dr. John Tsai, MD, a certified gastroenterologist in Austin

To test their theory, the researchers implanted stool samples from study participants into mice. Mice that received microbiota from more depressed participants with higher levels of proline showed behaviors associated with depression.

To further test the effect of proline, the researchers isolated the gut bacteria they thought might make the difference.

They found higher levels of Bifidobacterium In participants with fewer depressive symptoms with some strains Lactobacillus. other gut bacteria, Intestinalwas associated with more severe depression.

Give food containing Lactobacillus or Intestinal for fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). flies due to Lactobacillus They were more excited to eat and climb than those who gave Intestinal.

In their final experiment, the researchers genetically modified flies so that proline could not be transferred to the brain – these flies proved highly resistant to depression.

However, Dr. Tsai said he was not convinced by the study’s findings.

“I feel this study is interesting but it has several limitations in the study design as well as extrapolating the results from mice/flies to humans. There may be an association but this study is far from establishing causation.”

I think the most interesting aspect of this study came from the fruit flies and how the proline channels in their brains adapted. The use of proline or proline-rich/depleting foods in humans and functional PET scanning of the brain (specifically the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus) may be a very interesting study to consider.”

Researchers suggest that diets with a low proline content may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression.

Instead, they suggest that modifying the microbiome to contain higher levels of proline-metabolizing bacteria, thus reducing the amounts that reach the blood plasma, may be a route to treating depression without modifying the diet.

“I don’t think there is enough here to directly link dietary proline levels to depression based on this study. It is worth investigating more seriously in a randomized, controlled, prospective, double-blind human trial,” concluded Dr. Tsai.

2022-05-17 16:30:00

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *