- Have you ever wondered about the sensation of butterflies in your stomach when you are worried or anxious about something?
- That you may have to run to the toilet when you are upset?
- When you are feeling uptight your digestion shuts down and you experience bloating and indigestion?
Your thoughts affect your gut and your gut status effects your mental health.
Around 70% of your immune system is found in your gut and now it has been shown to have the greatest concentration of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, and not the brain as we have been lead to believe.
The gut has for some time now been called the ‘second brain’ because while it talks to the brain, it also has the ability to act independently and influence behavior.
The vagus nerve, sometimes know as the ‘wandering nerve’, which extends from the brainstem to the abdomen by way of multiple organs including the heart, esophagus, and lungs sends message upstream from the gut to the brain as well as travelling downstream through the vagus nerve from your conscious mind (via efferent nerves), alerting your organs to create an inner peace so you can rest and heal during times of safety, or prepare your body for fight-or-flight in threatening situations.
“The notion that the state of our gut governs our state of mind dates back more than 100 years. Many 19th- and early 20th-century scientists believed that accumulating wastes in the colon triggered a state of “auto-intoxication,” whereby poisons emanating from the gut produced infections that were in turn linked with depression, anxiety and psychosis. Patients were treated with colonic purges and even bowel surgeries until these practices were dismissed as quackery.” – Scientific American
Many research papers are now pointing to the fact that probiotics are showing positive results in those suffering with anxiety and depression. Optibac ‘for everyday’ probiotics contains 2 specific bacteria strains proven to help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood.
With studies now showing that those with anxiety and depression actually have HIGH serotonin and not low are SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Prozac, Citalopram, Xanax etc the answer?
SSRI’s work by preventing the reuptake (movement back into the nerve endings) of serotonin. This makes more serotonin available for use in your brain, which is thought to improve your mood. SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are believed to ease depression by enhancing levels of Serotonin to the brain. With 95% of the Serotonin in the body living in the digestive system, diverting Serotonin from their natural receptors to the brain can increase anxiety, alter sleep patterns, cause sexual dysfunction and adversely affect the cardiovascular region. Balancing Serotonin production in the gut is vital to restoring the balance.
The chemical imbalance theory was never proven and in 1983 the National Institute of mental health concluded there was NO evidence that there is anything wrong in the serotonergic system of depressed patients. Much research has taken place since and last September, the National Institute of Mental Health awarded four grants worth up to $1 million each to spur new research on the gut microbiome’s role in mental disorders, affirming the legitimacy of a field that had long struggled to attract serious scientific credibility.
Balance Emotional Health Through Nutrition
- Ensure you get enough sun and if this is impossible supplement with Vitamin D until your levels are adequate.
- Eat good quality saturated fat. Butter from grass fed cows, coconut oil, olive oil.
- Eat fermented foods like Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Kefir, Kombucha etc.
- Take a good quality probiotic like Optibac shown to help anxiety. Probiotics are carefully prepared friendly bacteria that replenish the microbial balance.
- Use good quality unrefined salt.
- Walk daily, being mindful and taking in your surroundings.
- Practice appreciation and gratitude.
- Consider magnesium. Studies show that low serum magnesium levels were associated with depressive symptoms. under par.
- Studies show that St. John’s wort can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression.
- Consider the bitter herb Andrographis for gut dysbiosis.
– a new way of thinking, a new way of life