This is because your intestine is much more important to your overall health than you think. Yes, it's a key player in digestion, which helps your body absorb essential nutrients. But more and more research is starting to find that your microbiome can also support immune function, brain health, a healthy weight and even your mood.
In fact, scientists are beginning to find a connection between your gut and your mental health. problems like depression and anxiety. So we plunged into science to find the connection, and we spoke with the experts to find out what you could do about it
Calm down your mind and relieve your stomach ache with this yoga pose:
Your intestinal health influences your emotions
There is a link between your gut and your brain. Scientists refer to it as the axis of the brain-intestine: The neurotransmitters in your gut travel along your nerves and through your immune system to your brain, creating a two-way communication path.
Mental stressors and emotional pre-interview anxiety – as well as biochemical stressors – for example, eating a poor diet or avoiding exercise – can be communicated directly through the axis your gut-brain, which is why stress can make you sick.
range of neurotransmitters, such as the serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin welfare hormones, says Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, a nutritional biochemist in Salt Lake City. It also produces norepinephrine, which is related to concentration, and gaba, which allows you to feel relaxed.
"Because the microbiome also communicates directly with the immune system, there is a continual sign of" well-being "or" disease, "he says.
In other words If your gut is not healthy, your brain "The intestinal microbiome produces chemicals that are potent antioxidants," says James Giordano, MD, professor of neurology and biochemistry at the University Medical Center. of Georgetown. "[These antioxidants] reach the brain through the bloodstream, and may reduce inflammation, which has proven to be a contributing factor in some mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety , and in neurodegenerative disorders "
In fact, according to research published in JAMA Psychiatry cerebral inflammation was 30 percent higher in people diagnosed with clinical depression. l & # As inflammation worsened, depression became more and more serious.
"Disturbances in the intestinal microbiome can reduce the production of antioxidant chemicals that reduce inflammation and maintain chemical stability in the brain," says Giordano. "These changes may contribute to altering the neurological functions that are expressed in some signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and as suggested by recent research, specific features of schizophrenia and even autism. "
PLUS: Hack your bacteria so you can lose weight and fight diseases
So, can improve your intestinal health boost your mental health
If a gut out of reach can have a negative impact on your mood, so a healthy microbiome can improve your mental health, is not it?
This seems to be the case. Improving your diet could literally improve your living space.
Recent clinical studies show that loading foods and fermented beverages – such as yogurt, kombucha or sauerkraut – can lead to psychological improvements, as does Talbott. Other research shows that popping a probiotic supplement with specific strains of bacteria can even reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
He points out that you should do some research or talk to your doctor before taking a random pill, though. "The benefits of probiotics are highly dependent on the specific strain used," he says. Some strains target depression, while others may work better for stress or anxiety.
That said, you should not expect that a packet of yogurt will cure your depression overnight. The slow, steady changes in your diet – such as increasing the amount of fermented foods you eat – can help make a difference over time, Talbott says.
Do not forget your fiber: Eating enough will help healthy bacteria in your gut thrive.
The article Could bacteria in your gut be your mood? originally appeared on Men's Health.