A common class of heartburn medicines called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to depression in a new study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. Researchers say that the pills may disrupt the gut’s bacteria, which can lead to major depressive disorder.
The study, conducted by Wei-Sheng Huang from the Department of Psychiatry at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, is the latest to suggest that a disruption of gastrointestinal bacteria can affect mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, and may explain why PPIs have been linked to a host of side effects from cancer to dementia to kidney damage.
Researchers say that gut bacteria can affect the brain by producing certain hormones or neurotransmitters. In turn, emotional responses can affect our gut bacteria, which explains why some studies have linked certain strains of GI bacteria to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Previous studies have identified the specific bacteria that can increase the risk of depression in laboratory mice and shown that supplementing these animals can reverse the signs of depression. The latest study suggests that PPIs actually increase these bacteria and thus increase the risk of major depressive disorder.
PPIs are available both by prescription and over-the-counter under brand names like Prilosec and Protonix. They are used to treat heartburn, acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Source: Medical News Today