An imbalance in gut bacteria can throw off your physical health, but recent evidence is pointing to the effects on mental health as well. A fascinating article in The Verge opens with the story of a teenager suffering from OCD and ADHD that no psychiatrist was able to help. Until they met a Boston based expert that started asking about the girl’s digestive system. It turned out she had issues and after altering her diet and adding high doses of probiotics, most of her psychiatric symptoms disappeared!
Many of us have experienced upset stomach when nervous or upset. That’s the brain sending signals to our gut. But it turns out that our gut can send signals to the brain as well. This opens up an entire new world of possibilities for understanding and treating mental health conditions. It may explain why millions of Americans, consuming a modern, nutrient poor and toxin rich diet are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric challenges at rates that are higher than ever.
To be healthy, we need to manage trillions of bacteria living in our gut. If we don’t feed them well or if we nurture some while ignoring others, it affects both body and mind. One example is fiber. Eating whole foods guarantees that we are digesting multiple types of fiber, each handled by different types of bacteria in different parts of our intestines. But eating fiber fortified bars, yogurts, breads, and cereal – many who use the single type of fiber inulin – is not the same.
And for some weekend levity, let the wordplay begin:
- A healthy mind in a healthy body
- Gut feeling
- _______________________________ ? (please contribute in the comments below)