Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Bacteria in Your Gut Influences Your Mind

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

Bacteria in Your Gut Influences Your Mind

gut

 

An estimated 40 million adults (18 and older) or 18 percent of the population endorse symptoms of anxiety (not to mention one out of eight children). Treatment of anxiety accounts for one-third of the $148 billion dollars spent annually on mental illnesses in America.

In other words, we spend $42 billion a year on treatment of anxiety disorders in America. Women are 60 percent more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than our male counterparts. These numbers are terrifying to me as a clinician, a woman and a mother.

 

The symbiotic relationship between our gut health and how we feel is a hot topic of discussion and research. Scientists, physicians, and mental health practitioners are increasingly aware of the important relationship between the balance of “critters” in our gut and how we experience our brain, mood and emotions. So, before we begin to discuss what we can do to optimize this important relationship, let’s explore the underlying processes.

 

From a holistic vantage point our gut is known as the “second brain” and there are structural/anatomical reasons for this reference. The “second brain,” known scientifically as the enteric nervous system, consists of sheaths of neurons located in the walls of our gut. We refer to these sheaths as the vagus nerve and it runs from our esophagus to our anus, roughly nine meters long.

 

Did you know…?

 

The bacteria, fungi and viruses that make up your body’s microflora outnumber your body’s cells by 10 to 1.

 

95 percent of the body’s serotonin supply is found in our bowels.

 

The vagus nerve contains 100 million neurons, which is more neurons than the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system hold.

 

There are over 100 trillion bacterial cells contained within the gut.

 

Our gut sends far more information to our brain than the other way around.

 

When the precarious balance of bacteria in our gut becomes disturbed we often experience symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other gastrointestinal related disorders. These symptoms are likely to start out as complaints of bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea.

 

These symptoms are often indicators of “leaky gut syndrome” where our gut wall becomes permeable and particles of food start to escape from the digestive and GI tract. When this occurs the domino effect of issues becomes inevitable and thus begins the cascading symptom patterns that plague tens of millions of Americans struggling with GI related disorders.

 

Due to the interconnectedness of our brain and enteric nervous system, via the vagus nerve, once our gut bacteria is out of whack, we are vulnerable to a pattern of emotional discomfort, usually marked by increasing episodes of anxiety and depression.

 

How does our gut bacteria become so unbalanced? Here are a few of the many ways in which we accidentally (and sometimes unavoidably) contribute to this pattern of disturbance:

 

Excessive and unmanaged stress

 

Too much use of antibiotics

 

Food Allergies

 

Prolonged use of steroids

 

Intestinal infections

 

High sugar; low fiber diet (in other words, standard American diet)

 

Regular consumption of alcohol

 

 

 

If you are reading this blog and you find yourself relating to this content, I encourage you to seek out professional help, contact us,  to better understand what these symptoms mean for your unique constitution. Taking the right type of probiotic to help restore balance in the micro flora in your gut is one step, but often with more advanced GI issues and more acute anxiety-based symptoms there is a need to first heal the permeability of the gut wall before adding in probiotics.

 

There is a growing body of research that is exploring strain specific probiotics to help mitigate acute symptoms of anxiety. For example, in clinical trials involving the study of mice, Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus have shown to help normalize anxiety-like behavior. Lactobacillus appears to work on the GABA receptors, an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of acute anxiety. GABA is the receptor influenced when you take a benzodiazepine such as Xanax or Ativan.

 

There is a bourgeoning area of interest and research exploring use of probiotics to treat a wide variety of mental illnesses. Pharmaceutical companies are attempting to create a new line of psychiatric medications referred to as Psychobiotics, but this field of research is still in its infancy.

 

So, that being said, there is a lot we can do right from the comfort of our own home to start the process of realigning the balance of our gut flora. As you can imagine, most of it involves cleaning up our diet, being mindful of the relationship between food and mood, and exploring our habits and patterns. Below are action steps you can take in an effort to begin the process of healing your gut, mind and brain:

 

It generally takes a minimum of 90 days for these suggestions to be maximally effective:

 

Eliminate sugars: The “fake” sugars. We are not talking about eliminating whole fruits. Rather, cutting out the baked goods, cookies, ice cream, and store bought sugary products that wreak havoc on the bacteria in our gut and lead to cyclical patterns of emotional and physical cravings.

 

Eliminate all simple starches and reduce intake of even complex starches.

 

Add in fermented and living foods. Please try to avoid store bought yogurts even though they are considered fermented.

These products are loaded with sugars and often end up exacerbating imbalance.

 

Consider having the vast majority of your diet be plant-based foods. Generally speaking, eat as many veggies as you want in any form you want. Avoid use of store bought dressings etc., which are loaded with sugar and preservatives. If your GI tract is especially damaged, consider cooking all your veggies before consumption.

 

Consume foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, salmon, flax, some types of squash, etc.).

 

Aim to consume local and organic sources of animal protein. Doing so will reduce your ingesting unwanted antibiotics and feed-based chemicals.

 

WARNING!   Contact us, or a knowledgeable healthcare provider on the steps to take properly!

Doing so incorrectly will cause more harm to your system.  If your doctor does not know the correct steps for you, RUN!

 

Discuss with your practitioner if the use of a probiotic or prebiotic will benefit your unique situation. A probiotic introduces specific strains of good bacteria, while a prebiotic introduces carbohydrates that serve as food the bacteria already present in your gut.

 

Exercise. Again, more days than not. Enough to sweat. The goal is to find joy in it. But if you hate it, that’s okay. Do it anyway.

 

Drink mostly water.

 

Work with a skilled psychologist or mental health professional to metabolize past trauma, identify faulty thought patterns, and implement mindfulness-based skills to better manage your central nervous system.

 

Implement a daily mindfulness/meditation practice. The goal is observed your mind, not to clear it or control your thoughts. Simple observation and balanced breathing. This is a restful and restorative way to calm the central nervous system and recalibrate the vagus nerve.

 

Exploring the relationship between our mood and our gut bacteria reveals an interconnected relationship between the mind, brain, and body, via the enteric nervous system and vagus nerve. This relationship is the foundation of why it is critical to address your emotional discomfort from a holistic and integrated approach to your wellness.

 

The good news is that because we now know and understand that there is a connection between the mind and body, we have the knowledge and tools to make immediate changes that will yield significant results in how we feel. The better we understand and participate in our own sense of wellness and empowerment the more likely we are to embark on change that starts from within.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

P Carrothers

Dir Personalized Healthcare

healthwellnesssassociates@gmail.com

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Foods, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Healthy on the Inside, Healthy on the Outside

healthyontheinside

Get Beautiful Looking Skin

 

Get beautiful looking skin by reducing your skin allergies, wrinkles and dryness

 

Your skin is an amazing organ. It serves many health functions and is really important in the detoxification process. After your liver and kidneys your skin is the next in line for detoxing your system.

 

Why does our skin age and get wrinkles? That’s because as we grow older, the elasticity of our skin becomes lower. The skin loses moisture causing sagging and lines to appear. But luckily there are solutions to beating wrinkles.

 

Tips For Keeping Your Skin Healthy

 

  1. Don’t smoke – smoking makes your skin lose its lustre and is also extremely detrimental to your overall health. Smoking causes oxidative damage to the skin and antioxidants are needed to reverse the damage.

 

  1. Prolonged exposure to sun can damage your skin cells and cause wrinkles

so applying a small amount of sun cream will help. However, we need vital vitamin D to make our immune system function properly and this is only produced in the presence of sunlight. Just 15 -20 minutes a day is needed to get a sufficient dose of vitamin D. Many of my patients reported the disappearance of their skin allergies post-holiday to a tropical destination with plenty of sunlight.  You might need to start taking a dose of Vitamin D, BUT, yes, a big but, there are many different kinds of vitamin D, and it needs to be taken in conjunction with other supplements.  Contact us, and we can help determine the right one for you to take, and what you need to take with it.

 

  1. Try to get regular facials and skin peels– skin peels can greatly facial peels improve the skin’s surface and is carried out by a dermatologist. By removing the top layer of the skin with a chemical solution, the damaged layer of skin naturally repairs leaving smoother clean skin.

 

  1. Don’t sleep with your face buried into the pillow as this will cause your skin to be pushed inwards and wrinkle lines to appear. This will also help to prevent puffy eyes when you wake up in the morning. Also ensure you regularly change your pillow case to avoid the buildup of bacteria and dirt. Satin pillowcases do help reduce pillows, if you can keep them on the bed.

 

  1. Manage your exercise regime– exercise releases the feel-good hormones endorphins, enables good blood circulation and promotes sweat to keep your skin glowing from the inside out. Exercise also improves sleep quality due to your body requiring more rest, therefore adding to the skin’s vitality and appearance.

 

  1. Manage your stress – Stress will make you age fast. Meditation, lavender sleeping well and eating the right foods will help give you the foundations needed to manage your stress. When adrenalin and the main stress hormone cortisol is released in response to stress, this can even bring out a rash. High levels of cortisol as a result of stress can bring about cravings for greasy fast food, which is not what you want for glowing skin.

 

  1. Try to use skin creams that have a good track record. Those containing a high level of antioxidants and collagen are ones you want to aim for. Resveratrol, vitamin E and acai berry extracts are also powerful ingredients to look out for in antioxidant creams. Using an antioxidant-based cream will reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines in the skin.

 

  1. Try to use as pure ingredients as much as possible– use products with plant oils instead of petrol based oils which clog up your pores. Get into the habit of researching the ingredients that are contained in your skincare products so you know which chemicals you need to avoid. Many skincare products will do more harm than good over a long term period.

 

  1. Eat a diet high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Try fresh vegetables avoid a

high sugar intake. Cinnamon and bilberry are high in skin friendly super antioxidants. Green vegetables, low sugar fruits and omega 3’s from fish oils are beneficial. Pomegranate oil is helpful as it helps to prevent breakdown of collagen. Eating the fresh pomegranate fruit is also high in antioxidants.

 

  1. Drink plenty of water, at least 4-5 half pint glasses a day. This helps keep you hydrated and assists in the detoxification of the system, by eliminating waste from the body and doesn’t come with a price tag. When you don’t stay properly hydrated your skin can appear dull and lifeless.

 

Why do we get skin allergies?

 

Skin allergies can be a serious and embarrassing problem for many people. It is one of the most common things I get asked about . But why do we get them? Sometimes it is very difficult to pin point the cause but in my own experience I have had some miraculous results by advising on the following:-

 

  1. Improve the digestive system – when your digestion is slow, the toxins from food can sometimes be reabsorbed back into the body and cause allergies. We can help you determine which foods you are either sensitive to, allergic and/or addicted to.

 

  1. Avoid products containing the following ingredients:

 

-Mineral oil, paraffin and petroleum – petroleum products coat the skin like plastic and clog up the pores so they are not able to breathe. This causes a build up in toxins which can lead to skin complications.

 

-Parabens – these are widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic industry and are some of the worst known carcinogenic chemicals in skincare products. Parabens interfere with your bodies’ hormone system and lead to long-term complications.

 

-Phenol carbolic acid – this chemical has been shown to cause an allergic response.

 

-Propylene glycol – this is shown to cause dermatitis in the skin

 

-Acrylamide (or polyacrylamide) – also a known skin irritant and at the worst has been linked to cancer.

 

Feel free to share with those you care about.

 

You can learn more about how to overcome disease and reach optimum states of health by contacting us at:

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL