The world’s atmosphere is becoming more inundated with toxins each and every day. These are ultimately entering the bodies of every human on the planet and disrupting their bodily functions. This is why it is imperative to understand the negative effects toxins can have. Plus, the signs and symptoms that indicate toxicity is occurring. Although this may sound relatively simple, as we gather more data in this field, the interaction between toxins and the human body continues to become much more complex.
While toxins have commonly been associated with physical health disorders, new data suggests that toxins may also impact an individual’s mental health. More specifically, through the discovery of the gut-brain axis, researchers have been able to link dysbiosis in the gut to signs and symptoms of anxiety. But, more excitingly, they show how to alleviate the symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. Through this new data that’s being gathered, you are able to see how proper nutrition and positive lifestyle choices are key in maintaining health, both physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Your Gut & Mental Health Are Connected
With everything consumed by humans entering their gastrointestinal tract, the gut microbiome is constantly sending messages to other areas of the body, including the brain. Through this communication, the body sends messages from the gastrointestinal tract to the brain and vice versa. These communications include altering functions in the gut such as
- biofilm production,
- and intestinal permeability,
as well as altering functions in the brain such as
- the production of serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA),
- mucosal immune regulation,
- and other central nervous system functions.
An Imbalanced Microbiome
However, when the bacteria within the gut becomes imbalanced, so is the communication to and from the gastrointestinal tract. When this communication line from the gastrointestinal tract to the brain becomes clogged due to external factors, such as poor diet choices, it can result in a number of symptoms including anxiety. Some of the anxious behaviors that may be experienced include
- nervous shakes,
- and fatigue.
Yet, when the microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract is in homeostasis these symptoms subside. Even though humans are born with a plethora of beneficial bacteria, over time these bacteria can diminish due to a number of factors. Some of these factors include
- the use of antibiotics,
- poor dietary and lifestyle choices,
- as well as stress and aging.
Harmful Foes of The Gut
When any of the above factors are in play, the body and its functions can be negatively affected. For instance, when a patient undergoes a round of antibiotic treatment, it eliminates most of the beneficial bacteria within the gut alongside the harmful microorganisms that were targeted with the antibiotics. Due to this, the gastrointestinal tract can become imbalanced. If this happens, harmful bacteria replace beneficial bacteria. Some of the harmful bacteria include:
- Helicobacter pylori,
- Rhimino-coccos, clostridium,
- or Escherichia coli.
Once the harmful bacteria take over the gastrointestinal tract, a number of physical and mental ailments arise, including anxiety. This occurs by disrupting the regular flow of messages to and from the gastrointestinal tract. Although some of these bacteria may enter the body unknowingly, when the gut is healthy, it is able to effectively remove the toxin. But, when the gastrointestinal tract is weak due to poor diet and lifestyle choices, it becomes increasingly difficult to return it to homeostasis.
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Improving the Gut Microbiome Improves Your Mental State
While there are hundreds of harmful bacteria that can play a role in disrupting the gut’s microbiome, there are only a handful of beneficial bacteria that can help bring the gut back into homeostasis. Some of these include
- and Bacteroides.
As these beneficial bacteria recolonize the gastrointestinal tract, the body can maintain homeostasis. After this, symptoms of anxiety subside in the majority of individuals.
Changes to a Healthier Gut
However, in order to obtain homeostasis within the gut, the individual must make a choice to change their diet. This should be a diet that is low in fat and high in fiber. In addition to a regular intake of probiotics. Although probiotics may not be totally necessary to reverse dysbiosis, it is a good starting point for those that are less willing to change their diet completely. Therefore, allowing the patient to begin improving their health condition immediately and slowly working towards a healthier diet that nourishes the gastrointestinal tract for long-lasting benefits and optimal health.
In conclusion, there are a number of external factors, such as food and beverages, that can play a role in causing an imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract. However, through proper nutrition or the use of probiotics, these symptoms can be remedied effectively.
Committing to Change
Moreover, through the data collected thus far, you can see that even with complex communications constantly being transmitted from the gastrointestinal tract to the brain and the rest of the body, the solution is simple. You have to choose a healthy diet that does not include saturated fat, trans-fat or high amounts of sugar. By doing so, the gastrointestinal tract will be able to return to homeostasis. Thus, creating an environment where beneficial bacteria flourish and aid the body in its daily functions.
Plus, the patient’s anxious feelings diminishing. The key for the healthcare professional is to gain the patient’s willingness and commitment to change their dietary habits for the better. This may not be as simple as going over the dietary changes needed to return the gastrointestinal tract to homeostasis.