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How the Bacteria in Our Gut Influences Our Minds

in Health June 22, 2017

For most of the time we always thought that mood, emotional, and mental issues were an internal issue. However, these problems might be derived from the bacteria in your gut.

Psychologists and therapists have become recently interested in the role bacteria plays in our mood. Yes, we know that bacteria can cause sickness or disease, and that we have good bacteria as well as bad bacteria – but there has been a sudden increase in emotional issues in the last decade. Researchers and biologists believe that this might be caused by the bacteria in our gut. Anxiety is the most common mental illness today, and an estimated 40 million American adults endorse symptoms of anxiety. That’s 18% of the US population.

When our gut bacteria is out of order, we experience a multitude of symptoms. When the gut bacteria is out of balance our guts become disturbed, and we experience digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. Symptoms include bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea.

These symptoms can be indicators of leaky gut syndrome, when your gut wall becomes permeable and particles of food escape from the digestive tract. This causes a domino affect on your digestive system which has resulted in the tens of millions of Americans who suffer with GI disorders.

Treatment for anxiety accounts for one third of the $148 billion dollars spent annually on mental illnesses. Scientists physicians, and mental health practitioners are increasingly aware of the important relationship between the balance of gut bacteria and the current mood we are experiencing in our brain. There is a lot of different things you can do to realign the balance of your gut and improve your overall mood.

If you want to naturally balance out the bacteria in your gut there are several different things you can do. For one thing eliminate the issue from the root. Unbalanced gut bacteria might be caused by excessive and unmanaged stress, excessive use of antibiotics, prolonged use of steroids, intestinal infections, high sugar and low fiber diets, and the regular consumption of alcohol. You can improve the bacteria in your gut by cutting out sugar and processed foods. Findings from a new study at Oregon State University found that a diet high in sugar caused changes in the gut bacteria of mice, impairing the mice’s ability to adjust to changing situations, called “cognitive flexibility.” The change in gut bacteria also negatively affected the mice’s long-term and short-term memory.

You should also eat more plants and dietary fiber. Most gut experts will agree when saying that changing our diet is the most direct method for changing the gut bacteria. By eating plants you achieve and maintain microbiota diversity, when leads to a clear and happy mind alone. Another thing you have to do in order to revolutionize your gut is to limit antibiotics. Regular antibiotic use kills the diverse community of microbiota, and causes destruction to the immune system.