Mental health and your gut.

With just over a week to go before the screening of Kale Brock’s “The Gut Movie”, I’m sure you will find Kale’s article on the relationship between gut health and depression and anxiety interesting. 

Content Note: Discussion includes emotionally challenging and potentially triggering content.



By Kale Brock


Mental health organisation Beyond Blue says depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.  In Australia, it’s estimated that 45% of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.  In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety.  In 2014, Australia’s suicide rate rose to 12% per 100,000 people, according to the Bureau of Statistics.  With the drastic increase in the prevalence of such conditions, advancements in our treatment and preventative approaches may be on the way.


As I wrote about in my latest article The Gut Brain Connection – there is a significant amount of research pointing to the gut [...] in the development of [some] mental health issues. One of the most striking studies regarding this phenomenon was conducted by researchers in 2011, where a team administered a specific probiotic called Lactobacillus Rhamnosus to groups of rats and observed drastic changes in their neurochemistry.


The researchers had two groups of mice, a control group and an experimental group, both of which were subjected to testing.  What the researchers found is that by administering the probiotic to the experimental group of mice, levels of the neurotransmitter GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) were significantly increased.  Importantly, GABA is involved in a very important interplay within the brain in actually dampening nerve impulses.  Why is that important? GABA actually acts as a preventative measure from our brains becoming ‘too active’ if you will: essentially it calms the brain down.  GABA has been shown to be in low levels of patients with anxiety and depression.


The researchers also found that levels of stress-induced corticosterone (stress hormones) were reduced in the mice administered to probiotic! So being exposed to the same stressors did not affect the mice receiving probiotics as much as it did the group who did not receive the probiotic.  This could also be said as the mice who received the probiotic remained more biologically calm than their counterparts who didn’t receive any Lactobacillus Rhamnosus exhibited less depression-related behaviour.


The study’s biggest asset, was in how the researchers then retested this theory on two new sets of mice, however they had removed the Vagus nerve in the new groups and found that the neurochemical and neurobehavioural effects were non existent! This gives huge strength to the standing that the microbes within our guts constantly communicate with our brains via the central nervous system: the vagus nerve. Expectedly, study leaders were excited about the findings.


“Together these findings highlight the important role of bacteria in the bidirectional communication of the gut-brain axis and suggest that certain organisms may prove to be useful therapeutic adjuncts in stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression”.


As I’ve been writing for the past few years, expect big changes in how we approach the mental health equation.  Alternatives to the pharmaceutical approach are arising, specifically, the use of targeted probiotic strains with proven efficacy against such issues as depression and anxiety will come to the fore from both sides of the medicine table hopefully.


For more information on the relationship between mental health and your gut, call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita your health shop in North Street in Batemans Bay or phone on 02 44729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev and Marianne on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.15pm on Go Get Healthy.



Don't miss out on these exciting events:


1-30 March

Complimentary Gut Health Naturopathic Assessments  

To assist in identifying the state of your gut health, our naturopaths at Go Vita are offering 15 minute complimentary gut health assessments in our naturopathic clinic. These assessments will be available for all of March.  Appointments are necessary. Call 4472 9737 to book or visit us at 5 North Street.


Complimentary Kombucha shots all month at Nourish on North

Kombucha is a refreshing fermented tea, rich in probiotics that is beneficial to achieving and maintaining gut health. Can't wrap your head around a fermented tea? Pop into Nourish and ask the gang for your free sample.


21 March Wednesday  6 — 8pm at Nourish on North

Fermenting for Your Health 

with Katie Urbanik, Naturopath

Learn to make Kefir, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Lacto-Fermented Vegetables, Water Kefir, Kefir Cheese, Sourdough bread and Yoghurt. $65 per person. Call 4472 9737 to book or visit us at 5 North Street.


25 March Sunday  5 — 7pm at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club

The Gut Movie - a story of poo and the future of medicine

with Kale Brock, Journalist and Researcher

Q & A to follow with Kale Brock

Cost $20 in includes a gut health goodie bag from Herbs of Gold.  Book Here


Kale Brock is a journalist and researcher who has a passion for health, particularly gut health. Since he last visited Batemans Bay in March 2017, he has travelled to Namibia to live with The San, an ancient hunter gatherer people living traditionally on the land. This movie follows his personal journey into the impact of diet, environment and stress on the gut.  During his travels he monitored his own microbiome and how it changed in conjunction with his new surroundings. He also took microbiome samples of The San to gauge the significant difference in microbiota present across cultures.  It’s a great movie as it’s very insightful and informative whilst being very entertaining.  






Share on Facebook
Please reload

  • Black Facebook Icon

February 13, 2019

September 5, 2018

August 8, 2018

Please reload

Please reload


© 2018

  • White Facebook Icon