Health Science

Studies Are Showing That Your Gut Bacteria Could Help Fight Depression

Photo: So Delicious

The scientific community has been researching the influence of your gut’s health to your overall health. And the studies are quite intriguing. Two new ones link gut bacteria and your moods, not to mention your mental health state.

This is great news for me and a lot of my close friends, who have been having troubles with their mental health lately. Researchers have found that people who are suffering from depression are lacking in several species of gut bacteria. They don’t know yet if depression leads to the disappearance of those types of bacteria or if their absence leads to depression. But the discovered connection between the two might end up being quite the relief for people in need.

Sciencemag quotes John Cryan, a neuroscientist at University College Cork in Ireland who has been one of the most vocal proponents of the connection between the brain and the gut microbiome. Cryan thinks that these studies are the first real evidence of that connection.

Several studies in mice had indicated that gut bacteria can affect behavior and moods. But Jeroen Raes, a microbiologist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, and his colleagues studied the gut bacteria of a 1,054 Belgians, trying to also assess what a normal microbiome looks like. Out of these, 173 had been diagnosed with depression or mood disorders.

Gut Bacteria Can Influence Your Mood and Prevent Depression
Probiotic foods stimulate the health of your gut. So include them in your menu.

Will gut bacteria cure depression?

The team took into account the lifestyle preferences of the people, including age, sex, or antidepressant use, all factors which can influence gut health and gut bacteria. Their findings were published recently in “Nature Microbiology”. They also found that depressed people had an increase in some bacteria implicated in Crohn disease, which lead to plenty of inflammation.

The research team also looked into samples taken from a similar number of Dutch people, and the same two species of bacteria were missing.

After these result, the race is on to use them in a practical way of helping depressed people improve their mental health. Companies are looking into oral supplements that contain the two missing species of gut bacteria. And, at the same time, the University of Basel in Switzerland is looking into transplants that alter or replace the gut microbiome.

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Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.


Study Shows Vegetarian Men Are More Likely To Be Depressed Than Meat-Eating Men

I have a lot of vegan and vegetarian friends, and one argument they hate to deal with is the lack of B12 argument.

Well, here it is again, and this time researchers at the University of Bristol in the U.K. found that male vegetarians are twice as likely to develop depression because of the lack of B12 vitamins and iron, which often affects mental health, according to the July 28 study titled “Vegetarian diets and depressive symptoms among men.”

The UK study was conducted on 9,668 adult men who identified as vegan or vegetarian. It showed that about 50 percent of vegan men, and seven percent of vegetarians had a vitamin B12 deficiency, and the longer they were vegan and vegetarian, the more likely they were to suffer from depression.

Not only are B12 vitamins not naturally produced by the body, but plants don’t make them either, so we often have to look for foods that come from animals and supplements to get our fix.

The lack of B12 argument has been backed before by the Harvard Medical Health blog, saying that a “severe vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to deep depression, paranoia and delusions, memory loss, incontinence,” among other problems.

Of course, meat isn’t the only source of iron and vitamin B12, as it can easily be taken with over the counter supplements, so this study should serve more as awareness that the deficiency exists and is known to have negative consequences. It shouldn’t stop anyone from being vegan or vegetarian, just make sure you get your vitamins in.


Customer Recounts Terrifying Experience with McDonald’s New Pay with Lovin’ Campaign


McDonald’s recently began selecting customers to pay with lovin’. As cryptically uncomfortable as this sounds, patrons are given the opportunity to perform embarrassing loving acts toward their loved ones, or strangers, for a free meal.

Sure, this may sound pleasant and heartwarming as the Super Bowl commercial shows. In real life, however, it can get awkward pretty quickly. Redditor Le1tus, recalls an experience with McDonald’s “Pay with Lovin'” campaign in the popular subreddit TIFU (Today I Fucked Up). Needless to say, it quickly takes a pretty hard left turn. Although, take the story with a grain of salt.

So as many of you might know McDonald’s is doing the promotion of paying with love. I happened to be one of the lucky “winners” of this promotion. It was great. A $15 Mckey’D’s food binge for free, man, I couldn’t believe my luck! They said all I had to do is call a family member and tell them “I love you”.

Seemed innocent enough, right? Read on.

The start of the fuckup is calling my mother who knows that I had a brief history with depression and suicidal thoughts from high school bullies. The second fuckup is starting the call with “I love you”.

See where this is going?

She immediately started to freak out (mostly because I’m over 1000 miles away from her and the closest family is about 300 miles away from me) and was pretty scared that I was about to commit suicide. Over the course of the next 15 minutes, I was on the phone reassuring her that I indeed wasn’t about to kill myself and make sure that she wasn’t on the next plane to arrive and come to visit.

(Afterwards she also mentioned that it had given her a small asthma attack, but nothing her inhaler couldn’t handle)

TL;DR : Went to McHeartAttack to get free food and nearly gave mother a heart attack.

Maybe they should have just asked him for a high five.

Quote edited for spelling and grammar. 


An Unforgiving Breakdown of How Much Sugar America Consumes [Infographic]


Newsflash: Sugar is bad for you. In case you didn’t catch it the first time, here it is again: Sugar is bad for you, as in awful, terrible stuff. For those of you not yet sick of hearing it, I’ll say it one more time: Sugar is bad, bad, bad.

Phew, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s consider this particularly eye-opening, unforgiving infographic by The piece outlines the spectacular amount of sugar Americans consume, how much sugar our favorite foods contain and what health problems — from obesity to depression — can arise from eating too much “refined sugar.” The last section even suggests that based on the way it affects the brain, sugar can be just as addicting as cocaine.

Thus, while even good ol’ Bloomberg can be a bore after awhile, the infographic does drive home an important fact: Too much of anything is rarely a good thing.

Check out the breakdown of our nation’s sugar consumption below:


PicThx Forbes


Now You Have a Reason to Live: Coffee May Lower Suicide Risk by 50 Percent


Turns out all the boys and girls standing in line for a latte are doing it right. A recent Harvard study revealed that caffeinated coffee may lower the suicide risk in both men and women by 50 percent.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data from three large-scale studies in the US, comparing the risk of suicide among adults who drank two to four caffeinated cups per day to that of non-coffee drinkers, those who drank decaf and those who drank significantly less coffee per day.

The study was published in the  The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry and included a total sample of more than 200,000 subjects who were monitored over a period of at least 16 years. Results indicated that the suicide risk for people who consumed two to four cups per day was about 50 percent less than the risk for participants in the other three groups.

Note: while other drinks such as tea and soda also contain caffeine, the levels pale in comparison to coffee. “Caffeine from coffee is about 80 percent caffeine intake,” stated Michel Lucas, the team’s lead researcher. “In one cup of coffee, you could have about 140 mg of caffeine.” In comparison, you get about 22-74 mg in tea.

“Unlike previous investigations, we were able to assess association of consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, and we identify caffeine as the most likely candidate of any putative protective effect of coffee,” explained Lucas in a statement.

Lucas attributed the lowered risks of depression and suicide to the effect caffeine has on the brain’s neurotransmitters that influence our emotions.

Of course, it’s all in moderation.

“Overall, our results suggest that there is little further benefit for consumption above two to three cups/day or 400 mg of caffeine/day,” stressed the study.

Bolstering the benefits of coffee, Huffpo observed, “Last year alone, published research linked moderate coffee intake with delayed Alzheimer’s onset, lowered risk of heart failure and reduced risk of basil cell carcinoma — the most common type of skin cancer.”

Seems like this is just further proof that our favorite beverage can do no wrong.

Oh, and am I drinking an iced coffee with an extra espresso shot while writing this? Damn straight.

H/T Huffpo

Fast Food

The McDonald’s Parody Ad That Likened Loving Big Macs to Suffering from Depression

mcdonalds depression

Tell me about the first time you ever went to McDonald’s. Do you remember who was there with you? Do you remember how it made you feel?

According to at least one McDonald’s ad which recently ran in Boston, the answer for some people is probably “f*cking depressed.” The ad featured a distressed woman covering her eyes, along with the copy “You Are Not Alone: Millions of People Love the Big Mac,” and likened the love of the iconic fast food burger to a kind of addiction, encouraging people to call the McDonald’s corporate hotline for help.

Of course, except for anyone who actually does suffer from a debilitating fast food addiction, loving a Big Mac is nothing like having a mental health problem (ahem), which has led the corporation to distance itself from the ad and ask that it be taken down.

AdWeek reports:

“In a statement to Time magazine, Nicole DiNoia, a McDonald’s rep for the Boston area, says the ad was ‘not approved by McDonald’s’ … She adds: ‘We have an approval process in place with our marketing and advertising agencies to ensure that all advertising content is consistent with our brand values. Regrettably, in this incident, that process was not followed. We sincerely apologize for this error.’

In all likelihood, McDonald’s probably did approve the ad only to receive considerable backlash from mental health advocates, after which it decided to throw its design agency under the bus. Or everyone who saw the ad called in to complain about its implications. “Yes I love Big Macs, but I don’t appreciate you suggesting I have a problem. I can stop whenever I want!”

H/T + Picthx Adweek


Study Shows Coffee Can Cut Stress in Women

A new study conducted by Harvard University showed that women who drink an average of two or three cups of coffee each day had a 15 percent lower risk of depression than women who do not drink coffee. Women who drink four or more cups daily showed to have a 20 percent lower risk.

According to the Huffington Post, the study was conducted with 50,000 participants in the Nurses Health Study.

Researchers wrote Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “Our results support a possible protective effect of caffeine, mainly from coffee consumption, on risk of depression.” The author’s of the study warns women not to take any drastic caffeine dosages too early as the study needs to be replicated for more accurate results.

[THX: Huffington Post] Photo Credit: Getty/Huffington Post