Is There a Link Between Gut and Mental Health?
The topic of gut health has been a recent trend when it comes to digestive issues and a healthy diet. But scientists have also found that there is a distinct connection between the health of your gut and your brain. Surprisingly, the balance of bacteria in our stomachs can have more to do with psychiatry and mental health than many people realize.
Our gut typically has trillions of organisms living in it that are known collectively as the microbiome. The health of your gut depends on the amount of good bacteria living and crowding out bad bacteria in your stomach. And because the gut and brain have a steady ability to communicate through the nervous system, poor gut health could negatively affect you mentally.
A person’s gut health is also directly linked to the health of their hormones and immune system. Poor hormonal or immune health can lead to stress and chronic inflammation which is known to be connected to depressive disorders. Gut bacteria can also produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine which play an important role in mood regulation.
The link between the brain and the gut can work both ways since each component affects the other’s health. Too much stress, anxiety, and depression can have a negative effect on the gut and levels of good bacteria. In that sense improving gut health can reduce stress and vice versa.
The easiest ways to improve gut health are to invest in probiotic supplements and eat a healthier diet full of fiber and fermented foods. Although better gut health may be beneficial for the body and mind it is always important to seek professional help if you have a mental illness. The combination of therapy and better gut health can be useful steps toward improving mental health.