There is an old saying “You are what you eat” It is so true. Human nutrition can be complex, so in order to understand how our gut health affects our mental health, it is important to understand the connection. The gut-brain axis is the system of connections and communicates between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain.
The microbiome is the diverse population of microbes that live in your gastrointestinal GI tract. There are trillions of them. This plays an important role in the health of the gut and other aspects of our physical health. Research shows this now extends to include the health of the brain and neurological systems.
In the field of neuropsychology, studies of mental health problems, include strong speculation that bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychological disorders may be associated with alterations in the microbiome. It has been said that any disruption to the normal balance of bacteria in the microbiome can cause the immune system to overreact and can contribute to inflammation of the GI Tract
(Gastro-Intestinal Tract). This, in turn, can lead to symptoms of diseases that occur not only in your body but also in your brain. Your gut bacteria are responsible for a range of neurotransmitters including “the feel-good hormones” serotonin and dopamine. This regulates your mood and behavior, 90% of the body’s serotonin in the body is made in the gut.
Your gut bacteria also turns fiber in your diet into compounds, known as short-chain fatty acids, this protects the brain from stress. They even produce substances that help shape your sleep. Studies have shown that the differences in our gut can impact our ability to manage stress. In other words, there is a close relationship between the microbiome and the brain, so altering the balance of bacteria in the gut can potentially help anxiety and depression.
There is a close relationship between the microbiome and the brain, so altering the balance of bacteria in the gut can potentially help anxiety and depression. Microbes interact with the immune system, this, in turn, interacts with the brain so the gut talks to the brain.
An independent study proved that two hours of stress can change the composition of the microbiota, people who suffer from gastrointestinal disorders, are vulnerable to stress, mood, swings, and chronic fatigue. The gut can lead to neurocognitive impairment, insomnia, and depression. Microbiota affects circadian rhythm. High levels of clostridium bacteria as already mentioned, can lead to sleep deprivation. An imbalance in the diet causes metabolic issues such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.
Probiotics are known to diminish the effect on cortisol which is a stress hormone, thereby decreasing depression and anxiety. Although probiotics are naturally found in a human body they can be taken as supplements.
An inflamed gut can also lead to psychological dysfunction.
So, maintain your gut health and this will give you a happy mind. X.
Claudette is a passionate campaigner and activist for mental health stigma and domestic abuse. She believes that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their disability or gender. She has diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder, endometriosis, Chronic Fatigue, and Fibromyalgia. Claudette has a certificate in Management studies. Her interests include beauty, makeup, animals politics, current affairs and social networking.