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Why gut health is mental health

March 28, 2020

What scientists are discovering about the connection between the gut and the brain.

8 min read

The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.

Why gut health is mental healthWhy gut health is mental health

Editor's Note: The following article is based on excerpts from Ben Angel's book , Unstoppable: A 90-Day Plan to Biohack Your Mind and Body for Success . And be sure to order The Unstoppable Journal , the only journal of its kind based on neuroscience, psychology, and biohacking to achieve your goals.

Health entrepreneurs have something in common. Each shares a personal health story or concern for the health of a loved one, which fueled their ambition to heal themselves and to create companies that aim to help others perform at their best.

What does this have to do with your intestinal and mental health ? On my 90-day adventure to regain my health and wellness, I interviewed some of these health pioneers to help me discover what I needed to do to biohack my body and mind, and my journey began by healing my intestines.

Scientists like Dr. Michael Gershon, professor of pathology, cell biology, and father of neurogastroenterology, firmly believe that we have a second brain in the intestines. In fact, he claims that there is a bilateral communication between the intestines and the brain. With over 100 million nerve cells lining the intestinal walls, it comes as no surprise that when we disturb bacteria in this region with antibiotics, poor diet, and a toxic environment, a neuropsychiatric effect is created that influences our mood and health. mental.

Suffering from depression, anxiety, fatigue, mental confusion, insomnia and intestinal discomfort; I couldn't organize the pieces until I interviewed Richard Lin, CEO of Thryve Inside, a wellness microbiome company. His story was very similar to mine and so I asked him to send me the test kit at Thryve's house. Thryve then determined my well-being based on different parameters of intestinal health: how diverse were the species of bacteria in my intestines, the balance of good versus bad bacteria, and how it compared me to healthy people. When I received my results I was in shock. I was missing a bacteria called bacteroides. The latest studies have shown that depressed patients have fewer bacteroids in the intestines.

Thryve later gave me dietary recommendations to reduce inflammation and also prescribed personalized probiotics to achieve my health goals and DNA results. I noticed the difference in a few days. Probiotics are the next revolution in healthcare. By introducing healthy strains into my system, my body was able to start to heal, which helped strengthen my immune system. All of this leads to a better metabolic effect on my digestive system, making it a better fat burning machine. A bonus was that I also lost a few extra pounds!

As new research finds probiotics have a neuropsychological impact on the brain by improving depression and anxiety behaviors, these seven signs that your intestines may be affecting your mental health are worth considering.

1. inflammation

When the gut microbiota is overwhelmed by antibiotics, medicine, poor diet, or stress; Gas and inflammation are the first signs that your bacteria is out of balance. Overpopulation of certain strains can kill good bacteria, causing you to gas. Incorporating plant foods, as well as raw and fermented foods like sauerkraut or kombucha, can help feed good bacteria.

2. Fatigue

When we try to find the root of our intestinal problems, this symptom is almost always overlooked. Although Candida albicans is a natural bacterium in our body, when there is an overcrowding in the intestines, it causes severe symptoms of fatigue. Candida lives on sugar which causes severe cravings. This becomes the perfect storm for your body to have an increase in glucose and insulin, then to have a drop and need more sugar to recover energy quickly. Following the 30-day candida diet , removing simple sugars from the body, can help recalibrate your intestines and allow good bacteria to recover and repopulate them.

3. Irritable bowel

More than 45 million people suffer from some degree of irritable bowel, which is made stronger by the stress of daily life. As Susan McQuillan writes for Psycom , “There is no doubt that IBS causes considerable distress for patients and is associated with higher levels of mood disorders, anxiety and other psychiatric conditions. A study of 100 IBS patients found that more than a third had considered suicide as a result of their symptoms. ”

He continues, “Research on probiotic bacteria for people with IBS focuses on different strains of the species known as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, both of which are considered key to replenishing good bacteria in the intestines and restoring the healthy balance of the microbiota.”

4. Trouble sleeping

What we put into the intestines can affect our quality of sleep. According to what the researchers at Frontiers in Psychiatry reported, “There is considerable evidence showing that the gut microbiome not only affects digestive, metabolic, and immune functions but also regulates sleep and mental state through the microbiome-gut-brain axis. ” Inflammation, emotions, and physiological stress can also affect the composition of intestinal microorganisms, causing a variety of mental disorders. Make sure your diet contains healthy fiber, various plant-based foods, and probiotics; helps strengthen your microbiota.

5. Skin irritations

Inflammation of the intestines causes an increase in the patent intestinal wall, which can filter proteins that affect your skin, causing irritations; for example acne, eczema or rosacea. Now known as the gut-skin axis, scientists are learning that overall gut health as well as abnormalities are reflected in the quality of our skin.

6. Autoimmune conditions

Although still in their infancy, studies now indicate the relationship between autoimmune intestinal diseases and microbiota imbalance. If you have an autoimmune condition and also have mental health problems, healing your intestines is paramount.

7. Food intolerances

This seems like a very obvious solution, but I had to take an allergy test to find out that an ingredient apparently as harmless as brewer's yeast was causing unbearable intestinal discomfort, mental confusion, and fatigue. Doing a food allergy and intolerance test could help you determine if there is something you are not aware of that is affecting your intestines. Helping them heal by eliminating the culprit could also improve your mental health.

Remember that necessity is the mother of all inventions and our pioneering entrepreneurs are in something important. They discovered solutions that provided enough biochemical energy to feed their minds and thus have the ability to search for a solution. So by working smarter and not harder, you can discover the person you want to become by following these steps for a healthier gut and mind.

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