HEALTHY GUT | HEALTHY MIND - THE GUT BRAIN AXIS!
Posted on March 27 2020
If you lived through 2018 & 2019 with your head above the sand, you probably saw that the biggest trend in health and wellness was GUT HEALTH!!
This is for good reason. Many experts considered the gut the second brain. In fact, some would argue it controls decisions and emotions more than your brain (listen to your gut) and may influence the way your brain processes information that controls the rest of the body.
Here’s the thing… your gut may be dysfunctional right now and maybe you shouldn’t listen to it until it returns to correct function and health.
In this blog you will learn the impact gut health has on your body and mind and how to nurture it back to health so your whole body looks and feels amazing.
Your gut is full of trillions of microbes (bacteria) that perform many tasks and help support or disrupt your nutritional needs. Your gut health and the health of your entire body may rely on the balance of good and bad bugs in your microbiome.
Good microbes help digest nutrients from your food, make vitamins and amino acids necessary for your health and performance. Bad microbes may produce inflammatory compounds called lipopolysaccharides (LPS) that disrupt your health and cause some serious challenges.
In fact, studies have now linked gut microbiota to the following…
- Weight gain/loss
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Auto immune disease
- Sleep disturbances
- Brain fog
- Skin conditions
- Hormone dysfunction & much more
How does the Gut communicate with the brain?
The gut seems to have a bidirectional communication with the brain via the vagus nerve. It can send and receive signals via this system.
In a recent study of mice fed a healthy probiotic, researchers saw a reduction of anxiety when the mice were placed in a stressful situation verse non-probiotic fed mice. However, when the vagus nerve was severed the benefits were lost, suggesting this is the main way our gut supports mental health.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and calm. More than 80% of this neurotransmitter is made in the gut. We produce more serotonin in a balanced microbiome than in a dysfunctional microbiome. This suggests that bringing back the balance of your microbiota will go a long way towards bringing back the balance of your mind.
To further support the gut depression link, a study published in 2016 titled “Transferring The Blues” showed when the gut microbiome of depressed humans was transferred into bacteria sterile (no microbes) mice, the mice show traits of depression.
However, this link can go both ways. Healing the gut heals the mind but if you are stressed it can disrupt gut health and change the microbiome. In a study published in 2015 in McMaster University, when rat pups were placed under stress (being separated from their Mum) it resulted in a change to their gut microbiota, stress response and behaviour.
What comes first… The stress or the gut dysfunction?
We really don’t have the answer to this yet.
Although, we do know mindfulness practises like yoga and meditation have been shown to improve mental health and simultaneously improve gut health. Also, the administration of healthy pro-biotics have been shown to improve gut health and simultaneously improve mental health.
Maybe the best approach is to support mental health with mindfulness practises, gratitude and having fun while simultaneously supporting gut health with the following simple steps…
- Reduce sugar intake
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Avoid anti-biotics where possible
- Use selective probiotics
- Consume marine collagen
- Consume more leafy greens
- Use digestive enzymes
- Repair leaky gut
- Reduce dairy and gluten
- Chew your food
- Drink plenty of water
Like Ayurveda wisdom suggests and hypocrites wrote… Food is thy medicine and medicine is thy food. Do something good for your body today that the future you will thank you for tomorrow!!
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified health care provider.