The gut microbiome, the collection of bacteria in our intestines, is coming more and more to light as possibly responsible for a number of seeming unrelated conditions.

A new study gave a number of patients with bipolar disorder either a probiotic or a placebo. All of the study participants also continued with their regular psychiatric medication.

Interestingly, the group receiving the probiotic had significantly lower rehospitalisation rates than those in the placebo group.

The study also measured inflammation markers in all participants before and at the end of the trial. Of those with the highest inflammation markers (at the start of the study) in the probiotic group, rehospitalisation was reduced by almost 90%.

This is a phenomenal result.

And while the researchers can’t be certain a disrupted or less than ideal microbiome is responsible for, or even a contributing factor, to mania or bipolar disorder, it certainly bears thinking about.

I hope this study is the first of many into this incredibly important field of study. What other mental health issues might be affected by the microbiome? And how do we begin to help those that need it?

Read the full study Adjunctive probiotic microorganisms to prevent rehospitalization in patients with acute mania: A randomized controlled trial.

Dr Carmen Hunwardsen owns and operates Carmen’s Spinal Care, a busy North Brisbane chiropractic clinic in Everton Hills.