Today I wanted to share some important information about leaky gut as it relates to anxiety. Many of us have heard of the gut-brain connection, but did you know that having an unhealthy gut can contribute to anxiety and other mental health issues?
Let’s start by understanding leaky gut, or intestinal permeability. It is when the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, allowing undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria to “leak” into the bloodstream. This triggers an immune response which can lead to inflammation and a variety of health problems.
What is the link between gut health and anxiety?
One of the most interesting aspects of leaky gut is its link to anxiety. When the gut is unhealthy, it can cause imbalances in the body that affect the brain. The gut, believe it or not, produces nearly 95% of the body’s serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, appetite and sleep. A healthy gut microbiome is crucial for the production of serotonin, and a lack of it can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
How does my gut health affect mental health?
This will help answer the following questions:
- Can healing your gut help with anxiety?
- How can I improve my gut health for anxiety?
- Is gut bacteria linked to anxiety?
- What gut bacteria helps anxiety?
Stress is one of the biggest contributors to both gut health and anxiety. Studies have shown that stress causes pain in the stomach and can even lead to problems digesting food. Chronic stress can also lead to an imbalance in the gut microbiome, which has been linked to depression and anxiety.
It’s not just stress that can damage the gut – poor diet, lack of sleep and overuse of antibiotics can all contribute to a weakened gut barrier. When the gut lining is compromised, harmful bacteria can enter the bloodstream and trigger immune responses that can cause inflammation throughout the body.
So, how exactly does anxiety affect the brain, and why is the gut so important? When we experience anxiety, it triggers the release of cortisol, which is commonly referred to as the “stress hormone.” Cortisol can cause inflammation in the body and can also damage the gut lining. This leads to a vicious cycle – anxiety causes gut problems, and gut problems can then exacerbate anxiety.
The gut brain connection is complex, but it’s clear that maintaining good gut health is crucial for optimal mental health.
Here are some tips for improving gut and mental health:
- Eat a balanced diet rich in whole foods, fiber and fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut
- Reduce stress through meditation, exercise or deep breathing exercises
- Get enough sleep each night
- Avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary
- Consider taking a probiotic supplement to restore balance to your gut microbiome
- Consider taking our herbal tonic specifically made for leaky gut.
So, it’s easy to see how gut health is related to anxiety. When you have an unhealthy gut, it definitely can affect the brain. If the gut is compromised, then the serotonin levels are not where they should be. That being said, low serotonin affects mood and often leads to anxiety issues. If you have more questions regarding gut health causing anxiety, call to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Dady.