Are you among the 40 million adults in the United States suffering from anxiety and depression? Find out how healing your gut can make you happier and more relaxed.
According to a new Australian study, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other gastrointestinal disorders, could lead to patients developing psychological symptoms such as anxiety. The research reaffirms the now established link between the brain and the gut, but this time in patients suffering from IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders. The study suggests two thirds of suffers reported gut troubles before the onset of anxiety symptoms.
The problem with conventional medicine is that it usually aims to treat the symptoms and not the root cause of disease. In case of anxiety and depression, the data suggests that 30 to 40% of patients do not respond to the current drug strategies of conventional treatment. Alternative/functional medicine on the other hand aims to treat the root cause of disease. It aims to balance body’s biologic system, address any nutritional deficiency and promote good health in general.
For best results one should take both conventional medicines and alternative medicines so that symptoms of anxiety are controlled while you try to address the root cause of anxiety and depression.
The bacteria in your gut can be one of your strongest allies in getting healthy. When the gut bacteria undergo some imbalance, several diseases may occur. Normal gut micro-biota can prevent numerous diseases like inflammatory bowel diseases, obesity, diabetes, liver diseases, chronic heart diseases, cancers, and autism. And this has been proved scientifically in numerous scientific studies. [1, 2, 3, 4].
In addition to that, it is now known that some gut bacteria have the ability to produce gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin, catecholamines, and acetylcholine within the gut. This trigger cells within the gut’s lining to release molecules that signal brain function and affect behavior. These psychobiotics also act on the brain through their anti-inflammatory actions.
A clinical trial randomly assigned patients with major depressive disorder to receive either probiotic supplements or placebo for eight weeks. Dietary intake of study participants was not significantly different between the two groups. After 8 wk of intervention, patients who received probiotic supplements had significantly decreased Beck Depression. You can read more about this trial here.
Overall, the results of these studies show that psychobiotics have the potential to positively impact brain function, boost mood, treat depression and anxiety, and help you handle stress.
Most people don’t realize it, but what they eat and how they live are changing the makeup of their gut bacteria. Our ancestors were a lot less concerned with hygiene than we are. This actually helped them pick up plenty of good gut bacteria along with the soil, organic unwashed fruits, pesticide free vegetables and other things they encountered.
In today’s world, with refrigeration, pasteurization, sterilization and other forms of “hygienic” food processing, together with the chlorination of water, the intake of “good” bacteria from natural sources has diminished greatly.
Above all, the antibiotics that are so commonly prescribed for even minor ailments hammer all our internal bacteria indiscriminately, taking out the good along with the bad.
But, you can take action to improve the health of your gut. Doing so can prevent new medical conditions from arising and even reverse conditions that have bothered you for years.
Ready to get started today? Here’s how to balance your gut bacteria in three simple steps:
Step 1. Avoid Toxins:
The first step to reversing this trend is to avoid toxic foods like refined flour, sugar rich diet and unhealthy oil. Stick to a diet focused on vegetables, animal protein, and fruits, and you’ll create a gut environment that’s friendly for good bacteria and unfriendly for bad bacteria. It’s also a good idea to avoid other modern toxins like pesticides, antibiotics (as much as possible) and drugs like Advil and Ibuprofen.
Step 2. Take Probiotic Supplements:
Taking a probiotic supplement is one of the best things you can do for your body. There’s a wide range of probiotic supplements available. And just like with gut bacteria, some are better than others. For reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression look for probiotic strains, L. helveticus and B. longum. We recommend Jarro-Dophilus EPS Probiotic
When selecting a probiotic, stay away from “bargain bin” prices. You get what you pay for.
Step 3. Eat Fermented Foods:
The best ways to improve your gut is to eat more fermented foods. These foods, commonplace in our ancestors’ diets, are full of good gut bacteria. You can start with common and easy to make foods like Yogurt/Curd, Kefir, Kimchi, Sauerkraut, cheese and Lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables.
Why I consider eating fermented foods as the best way to improve gut health is because most probiotics on the market contain only a few popular strains of good bacteria (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, etc.). While there are trillions of bacteria scientists are now realizing inhabit our bodies and are needed for not only intestinal health, but for our bodies to function. Also they only contain at best 10-15 billion probiotic colonies per serving, however a fermented dairy product (unpasteurized) or a fermented vegetable contains more than 10 trillion colonies per serving. You would have to take the entire bottle of probiotic pills to equal that number.
The recipe for a healthy gut and anxiety free life is simple. Avoid toxic foods and substances, add in some fermented foods and probiotic supplements, and make managing your stress a priority. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Changing your gut just might be the first step to changing your life.