Part II. Microbiome and Mental Health: The Gut – Brain Axis

“eating foods with high levels of tryptophan or sweet and starchy carbohydrates boosts serotonin, the “contentment” neurotransmitter that curbs cravings, suppresses appetite, and leaves you feeling satisfied and full. Close to 60% and 90% of all your dopamine and serotonin respectively is produced in your gut, and microbes regulate levels of these mood-regulating neurotransmitter production.
Because of this gut-brain axis, neurotransmitter levels in the gut and brain mirror one another. A low level of neurotransmitters in the gut leads to constipation and indigestion, while a low level in the brain can manifest in depression. Conversely, an abundance of neurotransmitters in the gut leads to cramping and diarrhea, while an abundance in the brain can manifest in anxiety.”

Struggles in Culture Shock & Life Transition: Letters From a Student On the Little Things That Helped Her Fight Depression & Anxiety

“In my second, third, and fourth years of school, my feelings of depression took a spiral down. I began to surround myself in self-destructive habits, such as not eating enough, consuming excessive alcohol, isolating myself from other people, and not leaving my room at all. I remember during these times that every part of my life began to suffer; I began to experience a total withdrawal from academics, emotions, relationships, and physical health. I didn’t really speak to my parents about how I was doing because what I was going through could easily be seen as a huge sign of weakness in Korean culture (and appearing competent and self-assured for my parents was everything to me back then!). It felt like I had no one by my side and I had to go through this frightening and devastating ordeal alone. Upon opening up to my school advisor about my struggles (I had to because I needed to explain my absences and my poor performances at that point), I agreed to take counseling sessions. “

On Seasonal Depression

After all the fall festivities and the joy and warmth of the holiday season, the shorter days and longer nights of snow and rain can wear on a person. Colder climates are tough for everyone, in body as well as in mind. It all can nonetheless be an isolative feeling, despite its pervasive nature and the severity with which it can manifest itself. Indeed, sometimes the post-holiday slump can be something more. Sometimes, it can be seasonal depression.