A slew of studies point to a strong link between poor gut health and your emotional wellbeing.
A healthy gut is not only vital for proper digestion, it’s also incredibly important for our overall wellbeing. In fact, the state of our gut actually effects our emotions in many ways. “The brain and our gut are intrinsically connected and poor gut health has been scientifically linked to a range of illnesses including ADHD, chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression,” says author of 21 Days to Resilience, Zelana Montminy, Psy.D. Bearing this in mind we asked Montminy to elaborate on the specific ways a poor gut can affect our emotional state.
When we’re stressed, a hormone called cortisol is released which causes inflammation. This inflammation disturbs our intestinal lining, which increases the amount of toxins circulating in our body. Probiotics can combat these toxins and even reduce inflammation, which in turn helps us deal with stress more effectively.
The connection between sleep and our gut is something scientists are starting to delve into more and more. What they’re finding is that our internal bacteria may indeed affect sleep in a variety of ways like changing our circadian rhythms, affecting hormones that regulate sleep, and irritating our sleep-wake system. How much we sleep also affects our gut health so it’s a two-way street.
Just like we have neurons in our brains, neurons exist in our gut that are partly responsible for the creation of serotonin — the neurotransmitter responsible for our sense of happiness. A majority of our body’s serotonin is actually manufactured in our gut so you definitely want to make sure your gut provides a healthy place for production to run smoothly.
When we don’t have enough pre and probiotics in our system, our gut is impacted and the amount of serotonin we produce decreases which can cause feelings of anxiety. Researchers often hear from patients whose anxiety was activated only when they started experiencing issues with their gut. One study conducted last year found that women who consumed probiotics had improved brain function and mood.
Studies have found that even minor changes in your gut bacteria levels can have serious effects on your mood and lead to depression. Several recent studies have found that treating depression at the gastrointestinal level, with probiotics and other supplements lead to a lessening of symptoms and better quality of life in patients.
The good news? Through fermented foods, probiotic supplements and pressed probiotic waters, keeping our guts and our minds healthy is easier than ever.
How else can gut health affect your life? Read on: