... and our microbiome.
Connecting the dots: What these three supposedly different areas have to do with each other.
Our understanding of how the psyche is connected to the immune system and our microbiome has long been limited. But now researchers in Norway have set out to investigate this in more detail. Cytokines (immune system signaling molecules) are thought to play a critical role in the development and progression of mental illness.
It has long been suspected that our immune system, which works closely with the microbiome, interacts with our mental health. However, little is known about the biological mechanisms.
This has previously led to this topic being left to alternative therapists, but this now seems to be slowly changing based on the latest results. More and more doctors are becoming interested in it. According to the researchers, these changes are also perceived positively by patients.
As we learn more about the effects of inflammation on the brain, its influence on our behavior becomes clearer. Inflammation primarily affects specific neuronal circuits and transmission systems. For example, certain inflammatory markers can be detected more frequently in depressed patients. Thus, the inflammatory cytokine interferon (IFN)-α influences brain circuits associated with motivation and motor activity. It also affects brain regions associated with arousal, fear and alertness. (2)
Cells of the immune system communicate via signaling molecules called cytokines.
The signal molecules through which the cells of the nervous system communicate with each other are called neurotransmitters.
These two systems communicate with each other via the so-called microglia, which is part of the intermediate tissue in the central nervous system.
Therefore, we now know that the signaling molecules of the nervous system can also be transferred to the immune system and vice versa.
To date, as already mentioned, there has been little serious research in this area. However, it is known that meditation and emotional balance have a positive effect on the immune system. However, further research in this area is required.
A similar project showed that patients with mental illnesses are more susceptible to various inflammations in the body and immune system disorders. This also suggests that there is an interaction between the two systems.
Conversely, people who have been exposed to neglect or child abuse have been found to be more susceptible to various immune system disorders.
This leads to the idea of whether mental illnesses could possibly be prevented by treating the immune system.
The universities in Stavanger, Bergen and Utrecht, as well as the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are involved in research in this area. However, concrete results can only be expected in a few years.
Not to be neglected in these cycles is of course our microbiome, which has a decisive influence on the effectiveness of our immune system. That's why it's all the more important that we take good care of our fellow inhabitants in order to support our physical/mental health.
Our body is a collection of systems that work together to keep us healthy. Our microbiome can be viewed as a means of communication between the body and the outside world - Have you had it tested yet?
This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical information or instructions. The recipes are intended for inspiration and are not intended as therapeutic measures. If you have any health problems, we recommend that you contact a doctor or other expert immediately.
- Immune System and Mental Health are connected, Steinar Brandslet, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, published on August 15, 2019, https://norwegianscitechnews.com/2019/08/immune-system-and-mental-health-are-connected/
- Rogers, GB, et al. (2016). “From gut dysbiosis to altered brain function and mental illness: mechanisms and pathways.” Molecular Psychiatry 21: 738. https://www.nature.com/articles/mp201650