Ardythe Morrow, PhD: The Connection Between Gut Bacteria and Psychiatric Disorders

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Human milk oligosaccharides could help treat some of the gut disruptions patients with depression often have.

The association between gut bacteria disruptions and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety had long been explored.

There is an obvious connection with diet, where often patients with a psychiatric disorder will also have poor diets, increasing the risk of diseases like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

One potential option to supplement dietary changes could be human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). HMOs areknown to be beneficial for infants as opposed to other forms of milk and have been explored as a potential treatment for IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders in the past.

In this episode of DocTalk, Ardythe L. Morrow, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Human Milk and Lactation, discussed how HMOs could be a promising answer to this problem among patients with psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder, anxiety, and autism spectrum disorder.

Morrow said more research is needed in this field, but what was found so far has been promising.

She also spoke about the importance of diet and why it is difficult to implement for patients but could ultimately aid in reducing the risk of diseases like IBD and IBS, while also alleviating some of the symptoms of depression.