We now know that the bacteria living in our guts play a key role in keeping our bodies healthy. These microbes can even be transferred from one gut to another to alleviate illnesses. In recent years, researchers have even posited that these microscopic creatures may play a role in dictating how our brains work.
A new study published February 4 in the journal Nature Microbiology puts us a little closer to understanding the gut-brain connection. The study found a correlation between depression and lower amounts of two kinds of bacteria in more than 1,000 Belgian individuals.
The presence of the two groups of bacteria, Faecalibacterium and Coprococcus, was correlated with higher quality of life indicators—which can include things like bodily pain and physical functioning—in the subjects. And individuals with diagnosed depression had less Coprococcus and another group of bacteria, Dialister, in their guts, even after factoring in antidepressants’ effects on these microrganisms.