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Proton Pump Inhibitors Linked to Increased Depression Risk

By jeremyc | March 11, 2018

According to a recent study, proton pump inhibitors, a class of drugs frequently prescribed treating gastroesophageal reflux disease and other acid-related intestine conditions, are linked with an increased risk of developing major depressive disorder. While the study didn’t establish cause and effect, the researchers suspect these pills disrupt gut microbiome, which in turn increases susceptibility to depression.

In the past few years, many studies have hinted that gut bacteria plays an important role in not only our physical well-being but also mental health. For example, recently researchers had noticed that mice that didn’t have good gut bacteria showed symptoms of depression, cognitive impairment, and anxiety.

Gut bacteria can affect brain functioning by releasing certain neurotransmitters or hormones. It is also equally true that our emotional responses have the potential to alter gut bacteria. In light of these two facts, it is hardly surprising that previous studies have established an association between stress occurring after experiencing a traumatic disorder (known as post traumatic stress disorder or PSTD for short) and specific bacteria strains.

Some previous studies have actually even gone a little further. They have shown that absence of certain bacteria leads to depression symptoms in mice. These studies have also proved that depression symptoms reversed when these bacteria were induced in the gut of the mice.

The researchers suggest that further studies are needed to understand how these drugs increase the risk of depression.

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