If you struggle with anxiety you need to read this. Science is coming in thick and fast and telling us that the state of our gut bacteria plays a significant role in our mental health.
It all began with research in the area of Nutritional Psychiatry identifying the influence your diet has on your mood, and it’s evident now that it all starts in your tummy with your gut microbes. What we’re discovering is that having happy, anti-inflammatory, and balanced bowel bacteria leads to a happy, well-balanced microbiome.
Timothy Dynan and John Cryan are cutting-edge scientists who are conducting ground-breaking research into how bacteria can produce the neurotransmitters that make us feel good, calm, and peaceful.
They’ve discovered a new mental disorder treatment strategy and they are called psychobiotics. Psychobiotics refer to using probiotics (and possibly beneficial yeasts) and prebiotic fibres to boost your mood.
Dynan and Cryan have found there are specific microorganisms that can enhance your mood. Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species produce GABA, the relaxing neurotransmitter that keeps us calm and relaxed. They have also found that certain strains of Streptococcus, Escherichia coli, and Enterococcus that create serotonin and dopamine, whilst noradrenaline can be created by the Bacillus strain.
Pretty thrilling, isn’t it?
We are also learning that you may have specific strains of germs in your gut that prevent you from developing a mental illness. That is, your gut bacteria are performing prophylactic medicine. Faecalibacterium is an excellent bacteria that has been linked to a decreased risk of depression.
Diets high in trans fats and sugar are inflammatory, as well as low in fibre and antioxidants. This means they are devoid of the fuel bacteria in our digestive system need. Packaged meals, burgers, and ice cream are delicious (we all know that), yet they also promote the growth of bacteria that cause inflammation and endotoxins that travel throughout your body, and cross the blood brain barrier into our brain.
When our system is always inflamed, the immune response behaves like we are constantly sick, making us feel less than 100%. Another fascinating study that looked at what happened after eating a processed food meal found that the endotoxins released are still affecting mood six hours after eating it!
To support healthier mood and to minimise anxiety we can chose to eat a high-fibre, mostly plant-based diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as legumes and whole grains.
If you would like more help with testing your microbiome and want to develop a customized treatment plan that balances your gut bacteria using psychobiotics and specific bacteria feeding foods in your everyday diet, book an initial appointment with one of the Radius nutritionists or naturopaths.