Gut vs Brain link and wellbeing – What’s the link?

With one of the toughest years coming to an end and September being the month of Mental Health awareness,  it is important to reflect and focus on any health patterns you may have been neglecting in the past 6 months due to isolation and struggling to cope with uncertain times.

One of the most important factors to remain strong and positive is taking care of your body and mind. Here is a reminder on how gut health can have an impact on your mental health and overall wellbeing due to serotonin levels.

Your gut and brain are connected physically through millions of nerves, most importantly the vagus nerve. The gut and its microbes also control inflammation and make many different compounds that can affect brain health. Although serotonin is well known as a brain neurotransmitter, it is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract. In fact, altered levels of this peripheral serotonin have been linked to diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Studies have shown that our microbiome may play a role in mental health and neurological conditions such as autism, epilepsy, and depression by interacting with our nervous system and even releasing molecules that can perhaps make their way to the brain.

Here are some helpful tips on how you can maintain your gut health which can, in turn, have a positive effect on your mental health and overall wellbeing.

  • Take probiotics.
  • Eat less sugar and sweeteners.
  • Reduce stress – Peppermint Tea is very good for your body and is known to be a stress and anxiety reliever. Peppermint also improves digestion and boots your immune system.
  • Avoid taking antibiotics unnecessarily – sometimes frequent use of antibiotics can strip away the good bacteria in your gut.
  • Exercise regularly – even if it is just a stroll around your block.
  • Get enough sleep – having a healthy bedtime can have a great effect on how your brain works.

You can view a three-part series on ABC about gut health, how it can be promoting weight gain, or impacting mental health.

Part 1 – focuses on irritable bowel syndrome

Part 2 – focuses on the impact of gut health on weight gain, and mental health. Explains the functions of different food on gut health.

Part 3 – focuses on how gut health and mental health are directly related.

Enjoy the documentary and start making changes now!