Happy end of January everyone! One month into the new year - yeah!
Jennifer and I are back this year and so excited to offer you a FREE WORKSHOP that dives deep into the link between your microbiome and your mental health. In December, I shared a few details about the growing body of research connecting the gut to our overall health, including its effect on our moods, anxiety, depression, sleep and more.
Today I want to go deeper into the science being uncovered with this link. By the end of this article, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of how the gut can support your mental health AND if there is some work to be done on your own microbiome so that you can better support your physical, mental and emotional health.
In recent years, science has discovered that the gut (our intestinal tract) is in constant communication with the brain via a pathway called the gut-brain axis, or the vagus nerve. I like to explain this connection by using the analogy of the CEO of a company. Your brain is your CEO. As the CEO of your company, you don’t always know every little detail of the goings-on and so you rely on your managers to inform you of successes, troubles, challenges, etc. You also allow your managers to make some decisions without seeking approval from you. This may mean that the managers speak to other departments on your behalf and they may even fire people from your company.
Your gut is like the manager in your company. If all is not well in the gut due to inflammation, dysbiosis, infection or autoimmune conditions, information is communicated to the brain via the vagus nerve. However, in the case of inflammation and dysbiosis, the information communicated becomes foggy and unclear and this is often where we start to feel increased levels of fatigue, fogginess and lack of mental clarity.
Now, communication from the gut to the brain via the vagus nerve is not a one-way street. If you and your brain are experiencing high levels of stress, trauma and emotional instability, this information is also communicated down to the body and it slows down or halts processes in the body, such as digestion.
As you can see, a disruption in the balance of the gut and/or inflammation in the gut can cause monumental shifts in mental functioning and vice versa. We’ve all experienced times where stress was very high and we experience some level of digestive distress, such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, disappearance of hunger or feeling ravenous. I’m sure we’ve all also experienced times where a digestive upset, such as constipation, leaves us unable to focus on anything else; we become forgetful, impatient and tired.
It is through balancing the gut microbiome, reducing inflammation and learning how to mentally and emotionally handle stress that we can use as a tool towards making sure our mental health is taken care of. This means we need to be looking at the whole person and their health - in body, mind and soul.
If you’ve experienced or are currently experiencing the situations described above, please attend our FREE virtual workshop this Sunday, January 30th @10:30am EST - Sign up HERE! It will be an excellent beginning to learning how you can balance your gut, turn down inflammation and develop effective stress management strategies.
We will also be sharing information on our NEW upcoming workshop series starting in February. This workshop series is a 12 week series where you will learn how to nourish your gut with nutrition, healthy stress management, emotional coping and more.
Jennifer and I are looking forward to seeing you virtually this weekend,
Hollie Crome, Founder of VIBRANT HEALTH COMMUNITY