New research finds bacterial changes in the saliva of college students who reported recent suicidal thoughts.
A study from the University of Florida found that there were differences in bacteria between students who had recent suicidal thoughts and those who had not.
Looking at other factors that can affect mental health, such as sleep and diet, researchers found that students who had recent suicidal thoughts had higher levels of bacteria linked to gum disease and other inflammatory health conditions.
The researchers also found that the students also had lower levels of Alloprevotella rava, a bacterium that produces a compound that promotes brain health. These students also shared genetic variation that may influence the presence of Alloprevotella rava in the mouth.
“These findings are exciting because they tell us which bacteria we need to look at more closely. Our question now is, what do these bacteria do biologically and affect mental health? Ultimately, we hope this type of research will help predict suicidal thoughts based on a person’s microbiome and can inform Pro- or prebiotic treatments for people at risk
Angelica Arens, the lead researcher on the study said.
“While various treatments and lifestyle changes can help, there is still much to learn about how the human microbiome affects mental health and can be harnessed to improve it.”
Suicide is a global problem, with more than 703,000 people committing suicide every year. Through research like this, we can better understand the factors that put some people at greater risk than others and identify better ways to keep people safe and prevent the tragedy of suicide.
If you are experiencing a mental health emergency or are concerned about someone else, please contact support. Below is a list of emergency contact numbers and helplines And organizations that may be able to help.