Mental Health + the Gut
The key to understanding our overall health is understanding the role of the gut microbiome. 80% of the immune system resides in the gut and its vitality not only effects the likelihood of disease but also healthy brain function.
The gut is like your second brain. When people say “follow your gut instinct”, they are actually speaking the truth about decision making. The gut micriobiome hosts neurons that send signals directly to the brain that effect your thoughts. When the gut has a bacterial overgrowth of the “bad bacteria”, it causes an inflammatory response of the central nervous system which in turn sends a faulty signal to the brain. Recent studies have also shown that the gut-brain axis plays a key role in maintaining good mental health. The microbiota of the GI ( gastro intestinal tract’s bacteria) actually affects human behavior and the regulation of the hormones produced in the brain.
So in a nut shell, a healthy gut = a healthy brain.
This information sheds a whole new light on mental illness. It is profound to realize that by improving the health of your gut microbiome, you can also improve your mental health and brain function. Many people who suffer from depression, brain fog and even illnesses such as strokes and seizures can be positively affected by improving your gut microbiome.
Growing up, before my introduction to the holistic health world, I lived on the standard american diet. I was born via c-section, which put my gut at a disadvantage and I did not get much physical activity. I remember feeling severely depressed and ended up seeing a therapist who recommended that I went on medication. I was on anti-depressants for almost 6 years, starting at the age of 15.
There are many circumstances that can play into your mental health like your environment, the happenings in your life or perhaps a chemical or genetic imbalance. All of these things were considered during my diagnosis and there were definitely traces of these factors in my mental health. But one component that was never mentioned was the gut and its role in a healthy brain.
What can you do right now?
There are many different reasons that the gut microbiome is thrown out of balance starting with the birthing process, diet including sugar laden foods, hormone rich meat and dairy products, overly sterile environments, stress and the overuse of antibiotics. It is never to late to start improving your gut.
My first recommendation is always to do a 24 or 48 hour bone broth repair. This is a great way to give your digestive system a break and allow the nutrients in the broth to heal the gut. You can check out info about this here. Secondly, take a look at this blog and learn about my top 4 healing gut tips.
Best to you and your gut