Opportunities for Prevention and Treatment
The gut may be a feasible focus for prevention and treatment interventions. As before, the gut microbiota appears to have a reciprocal and regulatory relationship with the stress response system. However, the disruptive impact of stress on the gut has been prevented and even partially reversed by probiotic administration in animal studies. Dietary manipulation, including the consumption of prebiotics (fermented dietary ingredients including fructans and oligosaccharides) and fermented foods, result in specific changes in the activity of the gastrointestinal microbiota and may provide a feasible means of intervention to address depression and other disorders. In considering the role of diet in gut health, it should be acknowledged that a healthy diet will often coexist with other health behaviours, such as exercise, that also promote microbial health.