ID-100252608The link between gut bacteria and depression is currently undeniable. Serotonin is found in the intestinal tract where 90 percent of it is made from our microbiome, derived from tryptophan.

Bacteria forms spores as part of their life-cycle. When their environment becomes harsh they develop spores for survival as a way to redevelop instead of reproduction. Instead of traditional reproduction methods they release spores to start new established ground in an effort to maintain. This is considered a mode of survival says Jillian Teta, ND in an interview with Sean Croxton.

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Teta is the President of the NCANP, the North Carolina Association of Naturopathic Physicians, graduated from Bastyr University with a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. Teta’s website, Fix Your Digestion, explains the link between depression and food emphatically. 

Teta says, “If the ratio of firmicutes to other bacteria, specifically Bacteroidetes, are too high, that predisposes us to obesity. Someone who is obese has less diverse flora. Diversity is the buffer against ruin and collapse.”She further says, “If dysbiosis (is) present, imbalance of the good and bad or overgrowth of the bad (bacteria), they are imposing on the enteric nervous system – inflammatory compounds, inflammation in the small intestine and creating leaky gut a risk factor for depression and obesity. That absolutely can influence the mental state and can contribute to and worsen depression.

In the cytochine model for depression information can be coming from the wrong bacteria in the gut.

EC cells make serotonin. 

Serotonin is 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT).

Spore forming bacteria in the gut are firmicutes and actinobacteria.

intestinal tractWhen bacteria, pathogens, food particles, antigens, metabolites get through the intestinal barrier through intestinal permeability it can go directly to the brain. 

Teta says, “If the bacteria are disordered or they aren’t getting what they need, they can translocate across the gut wall. Specifically if they are present and are not being fed properly they will feed on the mucosal lining itself. That can create an autoimmune response to serotonin, tagging serotonin and neutralizing it. We don’t know the implications of that yet in people who are chronically depressed. What we do know is disordered serotonin is a component of all of these things and goes hand in hand with gut flora.”

Triptophan is the precursor to serotonin. The human body does not produce its own tryptophan or serotonin, instead we get it from food in the form of meats, plants and bacteria. The meat is getting it from plant products eaten by the animal.

“Round up sprayed, or GMO crops, interrupts the pathway in the plant cell that makes tryptophan. Uptake of tryptophan in us can become disordered or inefficient. This is why some people who go on tryptophan or an SSRI, get diarrhea as a side effect. They have not been able to absorb or produce or have tryptophan or serotonin for their body. When they get tryptophan and serotonin their body overshoots.” Tryptophan and serotonin collectively work the process of peristalsis.

Peristalsis is a contraction wave present in the intestinal tract which moves fecal matter down the tract for elimination.

“In terms of gut health there’s a receptor called 5HT3, the target that pharmaceutical companies are looking at for functional bowel disorders  – constipation, IBS, diarhhea,” Teta say.

For some people supplementing 5-HTP, which is generally sourced from griffonia seeds, assists in satisfying the missing link. Consumers should be aware that not all 5-HTP products are created equally. This one contains rice flour, a starch, which feeds pathogens in the gut contradicting the effort to feed the good bacteria. This one contains added ingredients which end in -ose, forms of sugar which feed pathogens in the gut.

This form of 5-HTP contains no fillers or additives that feed bad pathogens. The best way to fix your production of 5-HTP is to rebuild your microbiome. This process is very individual and should be done with a qualified professional who is proficient in rebuilding the microbiome.

“Our gut bacteria and their metabolites are in communication with (EC cells) enterochromaffin cells. Metabolites are their exhalations, their products of metabolism. They could be inflammatory, non-inflammatory, cytochines, they are communicative molecules. We have identified that spore forming bacteria and their metabolites are interacting and sort of spurring on the EC cells, the guys in the gut that make serotonin,” Teta says.

*If you learned something from this post share it so others can do the same. To support the efforts of this blog shop the affiliate links above like this one. You pay the same shopping through Amazon while the author receives a small referral fee from Amazon. This offsets the costs of this site.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.

Dr. Jillian Teta spoke on this topic on June 21, 2015.




9 Responses to Controlling Gut Bacteria To Control Depression

  1. Julie says:

    The second two “this one” links for 5HTP do not work.

  2. Tamra says:

    The link for the best probiotic doesnt work. Could you give it to me? I sure would love to try it for my son who has Autism as well as myself (leaky gut). We have made progress on GAPS but always looking for more ideas. Thanks!

  3. kalo says:

    You have awesome information. I am a teenager struggling with gut problems but I have made so much progress. Next, is trying to get some functional tests ordered, besides a Ubiome, I am thinking

  4. Erica says:

    How do you address depression and use bacteria when you have had a gastric sleeve surgery?

  5. Andy says:


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