Gut Health
Mental Health,  Tips & Advice

Gut Health VS Mental Health

Gut Health VS Mental Health”>
Gut Health can Heal your Mental Health”>

Gut health is more then just good digestion. It is the root of many mental health issues! I began taking probiotics to help in regularity. However, I found a surprising side effect. During one of the most stressful times in my life, I was calm and rational. My anxiety was not gone but suppressed and manageable. Depression would come knocking and yet I could hold it at bay. Then I became sick and had to take antibiotics. It destroyed my mental health and all the progress I had made. Because the antibiotics wiped out my good bacteria.

How can your gut health connect to your mental health? This seems odd. However, learning the connection between these two may aid you in your fight against depression and anxiety.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

What is Gut Health?

We have been taught our entire lives that bacteria is bad. We even have antibiotics to wipe out all bacteria. In doing this, we have been wreaking havoc on our own bodies. But, there is good bacteria. We are covered in good bacteria. Most of our good bacteria reside in our intestines or guts. Our Guts are responsible for more then just breaking down food and absorbing nutrients. 70% of our immune system comes from our gut. Inside our guts are trillions of bacteria. These bacteria work together to break down and absorb the nutrients from the food we eat. However, scientists are beginning to see that they are responsible for so much more. They aid in fat loss, Inflammation levels, and maybe even anxiety and depression.

How does Gut Health connect to Anxiety and Depression?

Restless

Lets think about how we can see or feel the connection between our guts and brains. When you meet that really cute guy and you feel the butterflies in your gut. How about when you felt so nauseous before a big presentation. What about that popularly used term “gut wrenching” experience. Our emotions are linked to our guts and we feel that in times of stress. The connection is so strong that just thinking about food makes us salivate and release stomach acids. Well this works both way. When our gut is in trouble it will send signals to our brain causing what I will call side effects. Yes, anxiety and depression could be potential side effects from poor gut health.

What the Doctors Say

Several doctors have studied the possible connection between gut health and mental health. Here are a couple of doctors that have spoken about this topic.

Daniela Jodorkovsky, M.D., a gastroenterologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, says that the relationship between gastrointestinal discomfort and anxiety is “very complex,” but offers a couple of explanations for the link between anxious feelings and stomach-churning.

“The GI tract is considered the ‘second brain’ because it contains many nerves, which send signals back and forth to the brain,” she says. “Chronic stress and anxiety release a compound in the brain called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). This can have effects on spasms or diarrhea, as well as increased pain signaling from the nerve fibers of the gut to the brain.” Anxiety May Be Affecting Your Gut Health—and Vice Versa. Here’s Why. By Ariana Divalentino

Studies that shows the connection

In fact most people with IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) also suffer from anxiety.

Gut Health”>

Research has shown the gut microbiota influences brain chemistry and behavior. For example, people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and the associated cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation, commonly suffer from depression and anxiety as well.

Gut microbiota influences serotonin and dopamine production. In fact, more than 90% of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut. Serotonin is a key regulator of gastrointestinal motility. Serotonin is also one of the “feel-good” neurotransmitters and contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. In fact, the enteric nervous system makes use of more than thirty neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine.

In a 2014 study, depressed rats were given a strain of probiotics which resulted in “normalization of the immune response and reversal of behavioral deficits.” In this instance, it seems the use of probiotics may have had a therapeutic effect on anxiety and depression symptoms. (Dr. Edward Group) 

How to get good Gut Health?

GutThere are many more doctors and studies that have shown the connection between ours brains and guts. So, if there is a connection and you want to find relief from anxiety and depression through your gut there are several options for you. First, we need to understand the difference between probiotics and prebiotics.

Probiotics

Probiotics are either foods or supplements with good bacteria inside of them. This is a great way to introduce good bacteria to your system. However, not all probiotics are created equally. Here is a list of some bacteria and what they are best for.

Good Bacteria and there uses.

Streptococcus Thermophilus

  • GI Support
  • Skin Support

B. Breve

  • Anti Aging

B. Bifidum

  • Immunity
  • GI Support

B. Longum

  • Constipation
  • Brain function

B. Lactis

  • Immunity

L. Casei

  • GI support
  • Brain Function

L. Plantarum

  • Inflammation

L. Rhamnosus

  • Eczema

L. Acidophilus

  • Acne
  • Vaginal Health
  • Diarrhea

If you wish to improve in any of these areas, then make sure the probiotic you choose lists these bacteria. Also look for CFUs” (colony forming units) in the billions. Anything less isn’t as potent. Don’t forget to check the expiration dates as well.

If you are looking specifically for mental health then look for these strains of bacteria The strains most commonly used in these studies were Bifidobacterium longumBifidobacterium breveBifidobacterium infantisLactobacillus helveticus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.

Here are three probiotics I would recommend from Amazon.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are very different from probiotics. They are the non-digestible part of foods like bananas, onions and garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, the skin of apples, chicory root, beans, and many others. Prebiotic fiber goes through the small intestine undigested and is fermented when it reaches the large colon.

This fermentation process feeds beneficial bacteria colonies (including probiotic bacteria) and helps to increase the number of desirable bacteria in our gut.

So, think of it this way. Probiotics are the actual bacteria and prebiotics are the food for the bacteria to help them grow. You can get prebiotics from these foods; Chicory Root, Onions and Garlic, Oatmeal, Wheat Bran, Wheat Bread, Asparagus, Dandelion Greens, Jerusalem Artichoke, Barely, and Apples with skin. You can also get prebiotics from supplements or powder made from some of these foods.

Conclusion

Once your understand the connection between your gut and brain. Then you understand how important it is to take care of your gut. Try out a probiotics and add some prebiotics for food to help them grow. Avoid the things that can destroy the good bacteria. These things will help you fight against anxiety and depression. A another step to taking back your life and living it you way.

 

If you wish to read more about gut health, see the references below.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-probiotic-supplement#section11

https://www.humnutrition.com/blog/the-guide-to-choosing-the-best-probiotic-for-you/

https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/link-between-depression-anxiety-and-gut-health/

https://greatist.com/live/good-gut-health

https://greatist.com/live/gut-health-and-anxiety-connection

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4662178/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23840101

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20216555

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection

 

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