Mind-Gut Connection, How Your Gut is Affecting Your Anxiety
We’ve been talking a lot about how our gut affects our skin; what you put into your body is reflected on the outside. It’s easy to make the connection with your skin since you can see noticeable results. But have you thought about how your gut health is affecting your mental health? As mental health is coming to the forefront of our society, we’ve all started doing a little extra meditation (anyone else use Headspace to wind down?) and self-care. Maybe you’ve been following all the latest blog posts and articles on the 10 steps to reduce your anxiety (sometimes the internet is a blessing and a curse), but your anxiety still creeps up.
If you’re feeling stuck or you don’t know what to try next, looking at your gut health might be the next best step. We’re gut-health advocates over here and would say taking the time to balance out your gut, get rid of the toxins and reduce inflammation are all key to reducing your anxiety. Inner beauty isn’t just ‘beauty from the inside out,’ but is a major part of your mental wellbeing.
There was a new study published recently by General Psychiatry that studied a total of 3,334 scientific articles of 21 different experiments on a total of 1,503 people and found that regulating one’s gut health could be an effective part of anxiety management.1
The study found, “Overall, 11 studies showed a positive effect on anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota, which indicated 52 percent of the 21 studies were effective, and there were five studies that used probiotic supplements as interventions and six used non-probiotic interventions.”1
Another study found that dysbiosis and inflammation in the central nervous system have been linked as potential causes of mental illness. Hormones, neurotransmitters and immunological factors released from the gut are known to send signals to the brain either directly or via autonomic neurons - demonstrating the importance of a healthy microbiome, particularly the gut microbiota.2
Anxiety and it’s symptoms are complicated and sophisticated and we have much research ahead of us but, it shows that there is a mind-gut connection (“gut-brain-axis”) that we need to be more aware of. If you’re wondering what you should be eating for your gut and how to find balance, Radiance is always a good place to start ;) but for real, thinking about what you’re putting in your body goes hand in hand with lifestyle changes to reduce stress and anxiety. Probiotics have the ability to restore normal microbial balance, and therefore have a potential role in the treatment and prevention of anxiety and depression.2 One of our favourite non-probiotic supplements to take for anxiety is Holy Basil3 which (spoiler alert!) will be in our future product Resilience.
Probiotics can help, but so can eating a diet rich in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, yogurt, miso, and tempeh. Recent research has shown that the use of fermented foods in diets did confer gastrointestinal and cognitive benefits.2 So next time you go for an avocado toast try topping it off with some sauerkraut.
2Clapp M, Aurora N, Herrera L, Bhatia M, Wilen E, Wakefield S. Gut microbiota's effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. Clin Pract. 2017;7(4):987. Published 2017 Sep 15. doi:10.4081/cp.2017.987.
3 Winston D, Maimes S. Adaptogens: Herbs for strength, stamina and stress relief. Healing Arts Press; Rochester (VT); 2007.