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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