Dysbiotic drift: Mental health, environmental grey space, and microbiota

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Abstract

Advances in research concerning the mental health implications of dietary patterns and select nutrients have been remarkable. At the same time, there have been rapid increases in the understanding of the ways in which non-pathogenic microbes can potentially influence many aspects of human health, including those in the mental realm. Discussions of nutrition and microbiota are often overlapping. A separate, yet equally connected, avenue of research is that related to natural (for example, green space) and built environments, and in particular, how they are connected to human cognition and behaviors. It is argued here that in Western industrial nations a 'disparity of microbiota' might be expected among the socioeconomically disadvantaged, those whom face more profound environmental forces. Many of the environmental forces pushing against the vulnerable are at the neighborhood level. Matching the developing microbiome research with existing environmental justice research suggests that grey spacemay promote dysbiosis by default. In addition, the influence of Westernized lifestyle patterns, and the marketing forces that drive unhealthy behaviors in deprived communities, might allow dysbiosis to be the norm rather than the exception in those already at high risk of depression, subthreshold (subsyndromal) conditions, and subpar mental health. If microbiota are indeed at the intersection of nutrition, environmental health, and lifestyle medicine (as these avenues pertain to mental health), then perhaps the rapidly evolving gut-brain-microbiota conversation needs to operate through a wider lens. In contrast to the more narrowly defined psychobiotic, the term eco-psychotropic is introduced.

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APA

Logan, A. C. (2015). Dysbiotic drift: Mental health, environmental grey space, and microbiota. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 34(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40101-015-0061-7

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