Can a lack of healthy gut bacteria be the cause of your anxiety and depression?

We have 10 times more bacteria in our gut than we have cells in our bodies and this bacteria makes up 99% of the DNA in our bodies…which means only 1% of our DNA is human!  So, are we really humans?  Just kidding…but so much of our health and wellness depends on the health and wellness of our bacteria!

Can a lack of healthy gut bacteria be the cause of your anxiety and depression?

Exciting new research shows that we may be able to boost our moods without the use of pharmaceutical drugs!   Instead, we can treat anxiety and depression by creating a healthy gut microbiota.  

According to the article:

 “The bidirectional link between the emotions and the gut is nothing new. Scientists have long known that the enteric nervous system (ENS) found within the gut is connected to the brain via the vagus nerve, and is so influential that it’s often referred to as the “second brain.” When we experience sadness, fear or another emotional state, the gut is affected. And yet, the reverse is also true. When imbalances within the gut are present, such as inflammation or an infection, our emotional state suffers as well.”

“Emily Deans, M.D., a psychiatrist in Massachusetts, reminds us that gut bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium produce the chill-out neurotransmitter known as GABA, while Bacillus and Serratia produce dopamine — a neurotransmitter that activates the reward and pleasure centers of the brain.”

This research is still in its infancy, but there is enough scientific proof showing the benefits of using probiotics for overall wellness!

What harms our gut microbiota?

-Use of antibiotics, birth control pills and NSAIDS.

-Following the Standard American Diet (SAD), a diet low in fiber and high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods.

-Chronic stress, inflammation and infections.

-Toxins, from the environment as well as from the foods we eat that contain chemicals and preservatives.

How can we create a healthy gut microbiota?

-Eliminate process foods, chemicals, preservatives, sugar and refined carbs from your diet.

-Eat a diet full of “real” foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.

-Increase consumption of prebiotics (foods that nourish and feed “good” bacteria).  Foods high in prebiotics include asparagus, bananas, bran, chicory, dandelion greens, eggplant, endive, garlic, green tea, artichokes, jicama, kefir, leeks, legumes, onions, peas, radicchio, soy beans ,and whole wheat.

-Increase foods high in probiotics (“good bacteria”) such as kefir, yogurt, coconut yogurt, kombucha, miso, fermented sauerkraut, tempeh and kimchi.

-Take a high quality probiotic supplement daily.

-Remove toxins from your home by using all natural cleaning products.

-Take adequate steps to manage stress.

Take care of your “good bugs,” they have to be healthy in order for you to be healthy!


Digestive Wellness 4th Edition By Elizabeth Lipski, Ph.D., CCN, CHN

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chia kombucha fizz

Wahoo…it’s friday!  Watch out, things are going to get a little crazy with this kombucha cocktail…

chia kombucha fizz

Kombucha, or fermented tea has been the drink of choice for health conscious “hippies” for years.  Maybe you’ve seen it recently in your local grocery store selling for upwards of $3.00 per bottle.  Is it worth all the hype?  Maybe, and here’s why…

Kombucha is made when live organisms also known as the SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) or “The Mother”, feast on sugar and produce a fermented fuzzy tea.  To me, it tastes like a cross between apple cider vinegar and seltzer water.  Doesn’t sound that appetizing, does it?  It can be flavored with fruit juice, in this case, cranberry juice.  Although it is fermented, the alcohol content is very, very minimal.  I have to admit, I wasn’t head over heels in love the first time I drank it.  In fact, it triggered a migraine.  However, over time my body decided it was beneficial and now I can drink it without problems.

I’ve heard many make claims that kombucha does everything from cure cancer to prevent gray hair.  None of these have been proven and not many studies have been done on the benefits of kombucha.  However, it does contain live bacteria or probiotics and probiotics HAVE been proven to strengthen immunity and digestion.  So, long story short…if you like it, drink up!

Many ferment kombucha at home using a kit or by passing on SCOBY babies…I know, this is getting stranger and stranger, but stick with me and give it a chance!  Don’t know anyone to adopt a baby SCOBY from?  Don’t worry, just buy it from the store like I did!

chia kombucha fizz

To make this drink I re-hydrated chia seeds by soaking 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 4 tablespoons of warm water.  After a gel was formed, I mixed it into kombucha.

chia kombucha fizz

 I’ve talked about the benefits of chia seeds here and encourage everyone to add them into their diet!  Two superfoods in one delicious, bubbly drink, yes please!


top 3 supplements for winter

top 3 supplements for winter ~stay healthy and happy all winter long~

Getting nutrients from food is always the way to go, however sometimes we need to “supplement” our diet with vitamins.  One of those times is during the winter.  The days are shorter, the weather is colder and our bodies become much more susceptible to falling ill to bugs and the winter blues.

Consider adding these supplements to your routine to get a jump start on staying healthy all winter long!

Vitamin D:  Vitamin D helps build strong bones along with calcium.  However, recent studies show that vitamin D increases the level of serotonin, relieving signs of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or also known as the winter blues.  SAD can cause fatigue and feelings of sadness.  Let’s face it, who doesn’t have those days in the winter???

The body makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but how many of us see the sun in the winter?  If you live where I live in the North East, the sun goes down at 4:30.  Many people don’t get out of work until 5 when it’s already dark!  Vitamin D is found naturally in fish, fortified grains/dairy and egg yolks.  The RDA of Vitamin D is between 600-800 IUs depending on age.  Look for a supplement that contains vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol, which is the natural form of vitamin D.

Fish Oil/Flax Oil:  Omega 3 fatty acids help the brain cells use neurotransmitters more efficiently.  Studies show that omega 3’s help improve mood, and ease symptoms of depression.  The most readily available sources of omega 3’s are found in fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines and anchovies or in vegan sources such as flaxseeds, seaweed and walnuts.  If you don’t eat fish or can’t get enough omega 3’s in your diet, consider taking a supplement containing 650 mg of omega 3’s.

Probiotic:  I’ve discussed the benefits of probiotics before, you can read more here.  The research on the importance of probiotics is fascinating!  They help control everything from chronic digestive disorders, hormone balance as well as immunity.  Having a healthy microflora will keep your immune system strong to fight off sore throats and stuffy noses.

Probiotics can be found in yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, tempeh and miso.  My favorite way to get probiotics is with  miso soup, perfect for breakfast on cold mornings or as a healing dinner at the end of the day.  If you don’t eat these foods on a regular basis, consider taking a supplement.  Look for a supplement that has the specific genus and species of the probiotic organism such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus.  Also look for a supplement that contains at least 15 billion live organisms in a single dose.  And, always keep them refrigerated if the label indicates.

My favorite supplement company is Metagenics, which is sold through practitioners only.  Contact me if you would like to use my practitioner code to purchase supplements.

As always, check with your doctor before taking any supplements.