Mental Health

The Brain-Gut Connection: 3 Ways Gut Health Affects Mental Health

The gut is responsible for many processes in the body, including but not limited to breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and fighting infections. These processes are vital for good health and one’s well-being. This fact is why it can be so frustrating when something goes wrong with your digestive system. Let’s see the brain-gut connection: 3 ways gut health affects mental health.

The relationship between the mind and the gut is a fascinating one. Many believe that if you’ve got poor gut health, your mental state will likely suffer as well. The same can be said for the opposite situation: good gut health equates to mental clarity and positivity. Some suggest that a good way to achieve the latter is through the use of supplements. Websites like offer different products meant to address various health problems related to the digestive system.

What Is Mental Health?

This is an essential part of a person’s overall wellness, just like physical health. People suffering from a mental illness can have issues with everyday life, and such conditions can range from simple to critical ones. All mental health problems should be taken seriously, however. Anxiety and depression, which can cause immense personal suffering, are among the most common issues that may affect one’s mental state.

Mental illness isn’t always easy to recognize, but there are certain signs that something could be wrong. Some behaviors that might indicate mental health issues include:

  • Being overly anxious or worried about things
  • Having intense feelings of sadness, guilt, or hopelessness
  • Frequently feeling so tired you can’t function
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy

Keeping your mental health in check means taking care of your body and practicing good mental wellness habits. It’s advisable to get plenty of sleep, try to stay active through exercise or other physical activities, and eat a balanced diet.

Your Gut And Your Mental Health

If you’re thinking about your gut and mental health right now, you’re not alone. Many people are interested in learning more about how the two are related to one another. For a start, here’s some information that can help you understand the matter:

  • Gut Problems Can Cause Stress

One way your gut may affect your mental health is through digestion. When you have digestive problems, it can make eating and processing food difficult. This can lead to bloating, discomfort, fatigue, exhaustion, and general unrest.

These sensations create a spike in stress hormones like cortisol, making it harder for you to relax and sleep. As a result, you may start feeling frustrated and anxious more often than usual. Those can then contribute to chronic stress, creating a vicious cycle of undigested food and mental health concerns.

To avoid gut problems, eat a balanced diet of protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. It may also be helpful to cut back on processed foods like sugary snacks and soda. Digestive enzymes, such as those found in yogurt, may improve symptoms of digestive problems as well.

Although these tips sound simple, they can make a world of difference in your digestion and mental health.

  •  Your Microbiome Count Can Affect Your Mental Health

The second way your gut can impact your mental health has to do with your microbiome. ‘Microbiome’ is the term for all the bacteria and other organisms that live inside your digestive tract. And just like people, they can either be helpful or harmful to you.

Some of these bacteria are proven to perform valuable functions for the body, such as fighting infections and aiding digestion. The opposite also holds true: when gut bacteria are disrupted, they can cause several problems. In fact, many suggest that disorders such as depression and anxiety can be linked to an imbalance in the microbiome. Although there’s still no complete understanding of how these microorganisms affect mood and behavior, many believe that they do.

A proven method of encouraging the growth of helpful bacteria is practicing good sleeping habits. A whole night’s rest can help regulate cortisol levels, which can positively affect the growth of those microbiomes.

  •  Unhealthy Gut Lining Can Lead To Depression

The human intestine is lined with cells that protect the contents of the gut from the external environment. They act as a barrier so proper absorption of nutrients can be done in the bloodstream. However, this lining is covered with microscopic pores that allow some substances to pass through them and into the bloodstream. This so-called ‘intestinal permeability’ is vital for allowing nutrients to be absorbed by the body, so it’s essential in maintaining one’s overall health.

When you eat foods that are harmful to your gut lining, this barrier can become compromised, allowing dangerous substances to enter the bloodstream. This can result in inflammation, which demands a response from the body by converting serotonin’s building blocks into acids.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps with mood, sleep, appetite, and sexual desire. The increase in the conversion negatively impacts the production of serotonin. The prolonged inflammation is therefore believed to have a profound effect on mood.

A diagnosis of leaky gut requires specific tests from a doctor to determine if this condition is present. In such cases, it may help to make dietary changes and lifestyle choices that support gut health. Good recommendations are probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria found in yogurt and other cultured foods that contribute to healthy digestion. Prebiotics are plant fibers that encourage the growth of good bacteria.

Some also suggest that taking a probiotic supplement daily could help improve mood and alleviate some anxiety. What’s more, many recommend certain supplements to speed up the healing of a leaky gut. Some natural sources, like elm bark, are believed to help soothe irritated tissues in the stomach and intestines.

The Way To Good Mental Health Is Through One’s Gut

Did you know that what you eat affects how you feel? Also, essential lifestyle choices like sleep, exercise, and your diet can change the state of your mind.

The points stated above show how the gut is an essential part of one’s mental health. From its ability to digest to the number of microbiomes a person has, it’s truly essential to living with good health and mental wellness. As your body’s second ‘brain,’ taking care of your gut can have a significant impact on your mood and life as a whole.

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