Gut Microbes Make Most of Your Serotonin (the neurotransmitter most linked to depression and anxiety when deficient)
In the article, “Indigenous Bacteria from the Gut Microbiota Regulate Host Serotonin Biosynthesis” (which you can read here… ) authors were able to show how bacteria in the colon stimulated colonic enterochromaffin cells to increase production and secretion of serotonin. This serotonin was then taken up by circulating platelets and stimulated gut motility.
It is estimated that as much as 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract. We know serotonin is important for mood, in anxiety and depression, and peripheral serotonin has been linked with irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease and osteoporosis. Previous work in this area suggested that the bacteria (microbes) themselves were producing in increased neurotransmitters like serotonin, however this study suggests that the bacteria (in this case a group of 20 spore-forming bacteria) stimulate the host intestinal cells to produce more serotonin.
This article suggests that altering gut microbes could:
- Regulate serotonin levels in the colon and the blood
- This could impact GI motility (constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel symptoms)
- Improve platelet function
- Improve mood disorder symptoms (depression, anxiety) or other serotonin dependent conditions