We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat,” but did you know that what you eat can also affect your mood? What is the link between your gut and mental health?
The Gut-Brain Axis
Recent studies of the psychobiodome, the bacteria in your gut that affects how you think and act, have found increasing evidence of the “gut-brain axis” and the role that gut bacteria plays in your mental health.
The human gut hosts more than 100 trillion intestinal microbes essential in breaking down foods in your digestive system. These microbes may very well have the ability to fight depression and anxiety through neural, endocrine, and immune pathways. For example, the bacteria in your gut produces about 90 percent of the serotonin in your body, a “happy” hormone that regulates moods. Conversely, some bacteria can generate propionic acid, which can reduce production of dopamine and serotonin. Studies in animals found that stressed animals — more prone to mental health issues — had a less diverse assortment of gut microbes, or microbiome, than those that were more relaxed.
All disease begins in the gut — Hippocrates
Bacteria, IBS and Mood Disorders
Scientists are also studying the link between mood disorders and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Approximately one in five adults in the US have IBS. People with IBS frequently suffer from anxiety and depression, which can worsen symptoms. Evidence suggests that the immune system and the colon, both controlled by the nervous system, play a role responding to stress. Researchers have detected a connection between certain bacteria in the intestines and IBS. Further study is needed, but future innovations in IBS treatment could very well focus on maintaining a healthy psychobiodome.
If you’re experiencing mood disorders resulting from IBS or Crohn’s and/or colitis, we’re here to help. Book an appointment with one of our therapists today!