1 in 4 people in the UK will be affected by mental health disorders each year, according to Mind.Org
That’s a staggering amount of people and I’m sure the causes are endless. Our lives are stressful, busy and fast paced. Many of us rely on stimulants such as coffee and alcohol, both of which negatively impact our mental health long-term. We live in a society where we compare ourselves to others all of the time, both online and in real life. The Western diet is high in sugar and refined foods, which imbalance our gut microbiomes, and has again been linked to mental health issues.
Now, a lot of you may think, hold up what do you mean our gut microbiome has been linked to mental health? How could our gut possibly affect our emotions, thoughts and feelings? It doesn’t quite seem logical, on the surface…
Have you ever felt butterflies when you were nervous?
Have you ever felt “sick to your stomach”?
These feelings are felt in the gut because our brains and our guts send signals to each other. There is a very strong link that we are only now recently discovering. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that at least half – and up to 90 percent – of IBS sufferers also have anxiety and/or depression. I know this first hand as many of my clients report having anxiety along with their IBS; they almost go hand in hand in many circumstances. If you suffer from both then I can assure you, you are far from alone.
Researchers have finally found conclusive proof that the balance of bacteria in your gut may have more to do with your mood than any other contributing factor.
The bidirectional link between the brain, gut, and microbiome has come to the forefront of the medical research community in the past few years. The growing amount of evidence substantiating this link indicates it will be a valuable area for future medical and nutritional practice, and research. The research conducted so far demonstrates the importance of a healthy gut microbiome for patients suffering from anxiety and depression. Dysbiosis and inflammation in the Central Nervous System, which is caused by an imbalanced gut microbiome and leaky gut, have been linked as potential causes of mental illness.
It’s also worth noting that up to 90% of our serotonin (the feel good hormone) is found in our gut. Therefore if we have poor gut health, we’ll have reduced / affected serotonin levels which directly impact on our mood and mental health.
The gut really is the key to our health in many ways. If you’ve battled with anxiety and depression with no relief, it could be that the answer you’re looking for lies in your gut. It’s important to consider that the use of medicated drugs such as anti-depressants actually damage our gut microbiome further. This man-made chemical combination devastates our gut health and sadly, doesn’t resolve what the underlying cause may be.
Interestingly, a 2017 PubMed study has shown that increasing the good bacteria in the gut, has seen successful results in patients who received this treatment over conventional treatment. Further experiments are required to substantiate this but this is offering hope to many people currently facing a daily battle.
The research has only really just begun and we are probably a while off from obtaining conclusive results. I’ve seen the results myself from clients who have benefitted and would encourage anyone looking for a natural way to rebalance their body, to consider reforming their gut health – especially in cases where you also suffer from digestive disorders.
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