The brain and gut connection

Have you ever been so depressed or anxious, that you lost your appetite Zandara download? What is the reason for this? Surely, your body doesn’t need less food than usual when you feel depressed – so why does your mood influence your appetite?

Your brain and your gut are actually very closely linked – many experts have stated that your gut is actually your second brain! What does this mean, you ask? Well, it’s been suggested that an unhealthy digestive system may actually contribute to depression and anxiety. Let’s take a look at how this could be possible.

The ‘gut feeling’

Your body contains over 100 trillion (yes, trillion!) bacteria – before you freak out, these are ‘good’ bacteria that help your body function properly.

According to a Harvard Medical School publication, “The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut.” [And] A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.

So, what does all this mean?

Your gut and your brain are essentially one system, meaning that they have an impact on each other.

Here’s another example: have you felt like you’re going to be sick or get abdominal cramps right before you have to make a speech or give a presentation? This feeling of emotion is not “all in your head” – the stress you’re feeling is actually causing physical symptoms.

The Harvard article also says that stress can trigger the following physical and emotional symptoms.

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Physical symptoms

  • Stiff or tense muscles, especially in the neck and shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Shakiness or tremors
  • Recent loss of interest in sex
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Restlessness

Emotional symptoms

  • Crying
  • Overwhelming sense of tension or pressure
  • Trouble relaxing
  • Nervousness
  • Quick temper
  • Depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Loss of sense of humour
  • Indecisiveness

If these symptoms persist, you need to go and see your doctor who will advise you on the appropriate steps to take.

How to control your gut health

Probiotics

Probiotics are the ‘good’ bacteria that help your digestive system maintain a balance, lowering the amount of ‘bad’ bacteria that can cause symptoms that disrupt your gut. Antibiotics, for example, is one of the main culprits that upset the bacteria in your gut.

However, emotions also play a role in upsetting the balance of good and bad bacteria. So, when you feel one or more of the symptoms discussed above such as depression or anxiety, you should go speak to your doctor about being put on a probiotic – a healthy digestive system will play a great role in relieving these emotional symptoms.

Do you want more information about the link between your brain and your gut? Well, why not give us a call! By downloading the Hello Doctor app and subscribing to our services, one of our doctors is just a text message or phone call away!

Any advice you receive remains private and confidential and we are here to help you answer any question you may have. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Sources
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain-gut-connection
http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/the-gut-brain-connection
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20120524/probiotics-exploring-the-gut-mind-connection
http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/news/20150605/gut-bacteria-depression-anxiety
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201404/the-gut-brain-connection-mental-illness-and-disease
http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics?