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Before Taking Prescription Pills For Depression, Consider The Gut Biome

Recent reviews of serotonin literature have upended the consumer’s view of depression and depression treatments. After decades of propagating a link between serotonin levels and depression, researchers now admit that no significant link exists — at least, not enough of a link to justify drugs that deliberately affect brain chemistry.

But many patients still report improvement of their symptoms thanks to SSRIs (selective serotonin uptake inhibitors). So where do we go from here? And at what point is it counterproductive to take drugs for one issue when science has proven that all drugs carry side effects, some life-threatening?

The plain fact of the matter is that scientists often do not know why a drug works at all. Modern society has been consuming aspirin for a century, but only recently did researchers really learn how it works. So many folks have been raised to believe that a pill will “fix” their problem. But they fail to recognize that any disruption to the interconnectivity of the biological system carries consequences.

This is why a dedication to health and wellness is so important — the greater system already needs to be performing optimally in the event that modern medicine should need to intervene with medication. That way, the patient can enjoy the benefits of the technology without suffering too much from the disruption of inner biological harmony.

Biological harmony is most important in the gut biome, where most serotonin originates

Holistic health practitioners understand the fundamental importance of the intestines and their communication with the brain, even if nobody fully knows why the gut is so important, yet. Like the brain itself, the gut microbiome is a complex mystery of chemicals, reactions, and delivery mechanisms.

In fact, most of the serotonin in your body originates in the gut. So any “brain” drug like an SSRI that attempts to control serotonin is actually affecting the nerves of the intestines. When depression symptoms are lifted, chemical reactions in the brain have occurred, yes, but where did they really originate from? Is the “second brain,” or the gut microbiome, actually determining our mood and greater outlook? And if so, is it worth manipulating that biome with drugs that often kill good bacteria s an accepted side effect? To many, that agreement sounds like one step forwards and two steps back.

But of course, the situation is more complex than that. The antibiotic effect of antidepressants can, in turn, affect mood via the gut-brain axis, according to Psychology Today: “Among the astonishing revelations of recent microbiome research is that microbes can secrete neurotransmitters on their own, including dopamine, GABA, and, importantly, serotonin.”

Recognize your individuality, and focus on ancestral wisdom that has long improved health over generations

But because each person’s microbiome is both incredibly complex and extremely unique to their biology, it’s probably impossible to create a drug that works perfectly in harmony with both the functionality of the “second brain” in all patients without negatively affecting it some patients, as well.

Put more simply: altering the chemistry of the brain (or second brain) is a risky endeavor that science still does not fully understand. Slick drug advertisers want to boil the process down to a process that’s safe and effective for all, but that’s just not how the body works. We are each unique in so many ways — millions of ways, really — so the best option is always to take a personalized approach to healthcare.

There’s no “one size fits all” option in healthcare; you have to prioritize your own health with fundamental practices. And if one day you truly need to alter the chemistry in order to save your life? Cross that bridge with the knowing that you must also protect the parts of your body that could be adversely affected, like the gut microbiome.

What do you think?

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