Is your gut making you sad?
By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)
In today’s modern world, life can be pretty complicated, overwhelming and exhausting. It is not uncommon to feel sad or anxious every now and then. If you are regularly feeling down in the dumps and you can’t see an obvious reason for it, then you need to address what’s going on. Did you know that the health of your gut can greatly affect your overall mood? The gut is often overlooked as a key contributor to your mood but it is actually very important.
You would have heard of serotonin, also known as the ‘happy hormone’ due to its role in contributing to an overall happy, stable mood. Did you know that up to 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut? Yes, that’s right, your gut is the main source of your happy hormone so if your gut is out of whack it makes complete sense that your mood could be affected. The gut-brain connection is very real and more and more research is showing that your gut health can directly affect your mood and that your mood (stress) can directly affect your digestion. The gut is lined with neurons that send messages back and forth between the brain and the gut which is why they can have such an impact. Research has shown that those with lower levels of probiotic bacteria in their gut have lower levels of serotonin.
Tips to improve your gut health
- Get rid of the bad bugs: If your gut is overrun by pathogenic bacteria or candida overgrowth then it is likely inflamed. Essential oils oregano, thyme and clove are naturally antimicrobial and can help to eliminate pathogenic overgrowth – these can be found in BactoClear capsules.
- Increase the good bugs: If you have taken antibiotics at any stage, it is likely that you have less than optimal levels of good bacteria in your gut. Fermented foods naturally contain probiotics and should be included in your diet on a regular basis. Some of these include sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, miso, tempeh and kimchi. A probiotic supplement is also an option.
- Heal the gut lining: When you have a leaky, inflammed gut, you are unable to absorb as many nutrients from your food and toxins can leak from your gut into your blood stream. It is important to address any underlying food intolerances and to avoid inflammatory foods such as gluten whilst healing your gut. Bone broth, aloe Vera, glutamine, slippery elm, collagen and saccharomyces boullardi are all very healing to the gut lining, many of which can be found in Ultimate Gut Health powder.
- Eat more fibre: The probiotics (good bacteria) feed on fibre known as prebiotics. If there is a lack of prebiotic fibre in the diet then the probiotic bacteria are unable to thrive. Onions, garlic, leek, apples, artichoke, asparagus, chicory and legumes are great sources of prebiotics. Fibre in general is important for maintaining regular bowel motions – if you experience constipation then a fibre supplement may help.