How Our Mood Affects Our Gut Health
We are now learning our Mood & Mental health affects our microbiome, (the community of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.) that live in and on our bodies). This means that JUST eating the right foods and taking the right supplements will NOT equal a healthy flora!
How mood and the microbiome are interconnected:
Bidirectional Communication: The gut and the brain speak through the gut-brain axis. This means that signals from the brain/stress/ emotions can affect the gut, and vice versa. For example having an upset tummy when stressed , or diarrhea when nervous.
Stress and Mood: Stress, anxiety, and depression can alter the balance of gut bacteria. These emotional states can lead to changes in the gut environment, affecting the types of microbes that thrive there. Chronic stress has been shown to have poor
Inflammation: Negative emotions and chronic stress can trigger inflammation in the body, which alters the microbial composition. Similarly, changes in the gut microbiome can influence levels of inflammation in the body.
Neurotransmitter Production: Gut microbes are involved in the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which play key roles in regulating mood and emotions. Disruptions in the gut microbiome could potentially impact the production of these neurotransmitters, affecting mood.
Microbial Metabolites: Gut bacteria produce metabolites, such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)(maybe you have heard of butyrate?). These metabolites can have anti-inflammatory effects and influence neural pathways related to mood regulation. (on a stool test we can see the balance of these metabolites!)
Immune System Interaction: Changes in the microbiome composition due to mood-related factors can influence immune responses, potentially affecting inflammation and overall health.
Food and Microbiome: Certain foods can directly impact mood, and dietary choices can influence the types of bacteria that thrive in the gut. For example your gut flora will change in as little as 4 days depending on what you are eating! The easiest thing to increase is fiber(lots of fruit and veggies). This gives food for the good bacteria and much needed micronutrients , which in turn has positive effects on mood.
What can you do? In my practice I spend a lot of time addressing emotional health: teaching you how to pull out unwanted emotions, regulate your stress response, and learn the language of your body. If you can regulate your emotional in the body you can DIRECTLY affect your microbiome, genetic expression and your overall health! Ive also found the recommended diet and supplementary changes will yield quicker and long lasting results.