Gut health and mental health

The surprising link between gut health and mental health

4 tips to boost your gut health and mental health

You may have heard a lot of talk about the importance of your gut health for general health and well-being. But have you heard about the strong link between your gut health and mental health? Scientist now know that looking after the 100 trillion microbes that live in our gut (our gut microbiome) is key to both general health and mental health.

It can seem a challenge to make sense of it all so we’ve done the research to do exactly that, and help point the way towards better gut health, mental health and well-being.

Here’s what you should know about your gut health and mental health:

1. Your microbiome affects your mood

There is a constant two-way communication between your gut microbiome and brain, via:
– The vagus nerve
– Hormones and other molecules that relay messages between your gut and your brain through e.g. blood, as well as the vagus nerve. Important examples are:
– Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs)
– Butyrate
– Tryptophan – building block for the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin
– Dopamine

Your gut microbiome is so powerful because different bacteria will either produce or regulate the release of e.g. tryptophan and serotonin; molecules which regulate our mood and how we feel.

Not only that, what we eat and our lifestyle will affect our gut microbiome and the hormones or molecules it produces! More on that below …

2. When our microbiome is out of balance, beneficial bacteria decrease and unhelpful bacteria grow

– To support your overall health, your gut microbiome needs to be balanced and diverse, and diversity helps keep it balanced
– If your gut microbiome is out of balance—a state referred to as dysbiosis—opportunistic (bad) microbes can take advantage and grow, resulting in inflammation
– Controlling inflammation can help to improve both mood and anxiety levels

3. Relatively simple steps can help boost your gut microbiome and mental health

– A diverse microbiome can prevent inflammation and a diverse diet can increase microbiome diversity and reduce inflammation
– Also, beneficial gut bacteria thrive on a natural, plant-based diet because fiber is an important source of energy for them

4. Probiotic supplements can boost gut health and mood

When choosing the right probiotic for your needs, the first thing to remember is that not all probiotics are created equal. Look for probiotic supplements backed by clinical evidence that addresses your specific health goals.

Good quality probiotic manufacturers include:


NOTE:
This does not constitute or substitute for medical advice! Seek professional healthcare advice as needed, including which therapy or probiotic might be suitable specifically for you!

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Sources & further reading:

Anxiety might be alleviated by regulating gut bacteria | BMJ

Gut Microbiome and Anxiety: What’s the Connection? | Everyday Health