A compelling new study from researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center has shed more light on the mysterious connection between our diet, gut bacteria and mood. The study found that mice given a high-fat diet displayed greater depressive behaviors until microbiome-altering antibiotics returned their behavior back to normal.
Microbiome research is undeniably one of the most exciting areas of medical research today. One of the most intriguing subsets in this field is the growing connections that link our gut bacteria and the brain. From PTSD to depression, researchers are finding interesting neurochemical effects stemming from the unique makeup of our gut microbiome.
It has long been known that people suffering from type 2 diabetes or obesity seem to be struck down with depression and anxiety at higher rates than the rest of the population. While this may seem like an obvious correlation, the psychological effects simply being a consequence of the disease, some researchers are beginning to suggest there may actually be more to it.
Several previous studies have found anxiety or stress-related behaviors in mice can be modulated through changes in the gut microbiome. This new work from the Joslin team set out to study how animals on high-fat diets can be behaviorally modified through microbiome alterations.
Earlier research from the same team established that mice fed a high-fat diet and bred to develop various metabolic diseases such as diabetes often had the onset of their diseases modulated by gut bacteria alterations. This new study set out to examine how a high-fat diet influences mood, and then how those mood changes can be subsequently disrupted through microbiome alterations.