top of page
  • Liza Boone

Revealing the Link Between Gut Micro-Bugs and Mental Health: Insights and Interventions from Scientific Research

Learning With Liza | Liza Deen PhD decoding cravings and mood/stress

A couple of days after Valentine's Day and all the candy is on sale at the stores. Can you resist it?

Do you have some at home that is calling your name right now?

Maybe you squirreled some away from the kids - Parent Tax.

Did you know that eating processed sugars can throw your gut microbiome out of whack and this can lead to stress & anxiety potentially making trauma worse?

In a groundbreaking study published in August 2015, titled "The gut microbiota and mental health: implications for anxiety- and trauma-related disorders," researchers delved into the intricate relationship between gut microbiota composition and mental health outcomes.

Basically, they looked into where your cravings are coming from and what happens when you indulge them.

Conducted by Foster and McVey Neufeld, this study sheds light on the profound implications of gut bacteria on anxiety and trauma-related disorders, offering valuable insights into potential therapeutic interventions.

Gut Bacteria, Stress and Emotional Regulation

The study begins by elucidating the gut-brain axis, a two-way communication network between the gut and the central nervous system.

This axis plays a pivotal role in regulating many physiological processes, including stress response and emotional regulation.

Through intricate mechanisms involving neurotransmitters, immune molecules, and microbial metabolites, gut microbiota influence brain function and behavior.

"Restoration of the intestinal microbiota and functions of the gut-brain axis via using probiotics, their metabolites, prebiotics, and healthy diet may alleviate depressive symptoms."

When Your Gut is Out of Balance

Foster and McVey Neufeld delve into the impact of dysbiosis, or an imbalance in gut microbiota (micro-bugs composed of bacteria, yeasts, fungi, etc.) composition, on mental health disorders such as anxiety and trauma-related conditions.

"Alterations in gut microbial communities can exacerbate stress responses, trigger inflammatory pathways, and compromise neurobehavioral function, contributing to the development and progression of mental health disorders."[2]

The study explores potential therapeutic strategies aimed at modulating gut microbiota to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and trauma-related disorders.

These interventions include:

  • probiotic supplementation

  • dietary modifications

  • fecal microbiota transplantation

all of which aim to restore microbial equilibrium and promote mental well-being.

Overall, this study underscores the intricate interplay between gut microbiota and mental health, offering valuable insights into the pathophysiology of anxiety and trauma-related disorders.

What Does This Gut-Micro-Bug/Mental Health Connection Mean?

By showing the mechanisms underlying the relationship between mental health and gut micro-bugs, researchers pave the way for innovative therapeutic approaches that target the gut microbiome, promising new avenues for the management and treatment of mental health conditions.

This study represents a significant milestone in the field of psychobiology, highlighting the importance of considering the gut microbiota as a key player in mental health regulation.

As research in this area continues to evolve, we can anticipate transformative advancements in our understanding and treatment of mental health disorders, offering hope for improved outcomes and enhanced quality of life for individuals affected by these conditions.

Potential Interventions You Can Start Today

  • Probiotic supplementation There are a lot of products to choose from. Get started with one recommended for mood from a health food store with helpful staff. You can find "mood support" declared on the label.

  • Dietary modifications Keep track of your food for a while. Use my free life tracker to get started. It is important to be aware of what you eat so you can make changes. Once you see how food affects your mood, and everything else, your path will become clearer.

  • Fecal transplantation

Unless you have access to this therapy which must be overseen by a physician, it's an interesting internet rabbit hole if you have time.


Any recommendations are options and should not be construed as medical advice. Any information given is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease or conditions.


bottom of page