Are gut bacteria causing anxiety in you?
When you think about strategies to calm anxiety or treat depression maybe you think of psychotherapy, medication, hypnosis, affirmations … right, something along those lines. I’m betting that you would not automatically think about your gut.
Well, our guts may very well hold the secret to improving your mood and mental health. That’s what this episode is about: what do your gut bacteria have to do with your anxiety or depression?
I decided to talk about this subject after reading an article called, “Gut Feelings: the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach” on the website theVerge.com.
Key Points Re: Gut Bacteria Causing Anxiety and Depression
- We actually have two nervous systems. The first one – the central nervous system – is composed of our brain and spinal cord. And the second one – the enteric nervous system – is the intrinsic nervous system within your gastrointestinal tract.
- The two nervous systems are connected by the vagus nerve, which is how the bacteria in your gut transmit information to your brain.
- Your gut actually sends much more information to your brain than your brain sends to your gut.
- Just as you have neurons in your brain, you also have neurons in your gut – including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin. Serotonin is involved in mood control. The greatest concentration of serotonin is actually found in your gut, not your brain.
- When looking for a probiotic supplement, I recommend looking for one that guarantees a minimum of at least 10 billion active bacterial colony units up until the expiration date.
- You want to look for one that contains multiple strains. The two most important strains, in terms of research related to anxiety and depression, seem to be Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium longum, so look for those on the label.
- A great way to get healthy gut bacteria through your diet is to eat fermented foods.
The probiotic I use and recommend in my practice is HMF Neuro powder.
And here are some great recipes for fermented foods.
You can download the transcript of this episode by clicking here.
Start adding a few fermented foods into your diet.
Consider a 6 month trial of supplementing with a good quality, high dose probiotic.
What we’ve talked about is just a small part of gut health, but combine this with the information from episode 5 and you’ll be off to a great start.
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