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Your Gut Health Affects Your Mental Health: Expert Explains How

Stress causes release of cortisol which changes intestinal permeability, interferes in gut mobility and disrupts gut flora.

Your Gut Health Affects Your Mental Health: Expert Explains How

Gut-brain axis showcases the connection between the digestive system and mental health

There is a growing recognition among both scientific studies and public discourse about the connection between gut health and brain health. The gut-brain axis that is defines the relationship between how mental health affects your gut health. The ink between the health of the brain and the gut is showcased by the gut-brain axis which is a bi-directional communication system.

This connection includes complex interactions across neutral, hormonal, and immune pathways. Neural pathways include the vagus nerve which passes signals between the gut and the brain, hormonal pathways include hormones like serotonin and cortisol which play important roles in communication and immune pathways involve gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), which is a major component of the immune system and located in the gut.

Impact of mental health on gut health

Stress and the Gut

Stress causes the release of cortisol which changes intestinal permeability, interferes with gut mobility, and disrupts gut flora. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are among the conditions caused by it.

Anxiety and Depression

Due to the correlation between gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, pain, etc anxiety and depression impact gut health. A certain amount of neurotransmitters and serotonin that are linked to mood regulations are produced by the gut and suggest a connection between mental and intestinal health.

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Scientific Evidence that supports the connection

There are numerous studies present that establish the relationship between the gut and the brain.

  • According to a study published in “Psychiatry Research” demonstrated how people with IBS are more likely to experience depression and anxiety.
  • A study published in “The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology” revealed that probiotics supporting good gut flora help IBS patients with their symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Tips to preserve mental and gut health

Diet and Nutrition

  1. Probiotic-rich foods: To enhance gut microbiome consume fermented food like kefir, yogurt, etc.
  2. Prebiotic foods: Consume foods that nourish gut flora like onion, banana, garlic, etc.
  3. Balanced diet: To promote mental and intestinal health, eat a diet that is high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables.

Gut-brain axis showcases the connection between the digestive system and mental health. By understanding the relationship between both one can improve their mental and gut health and also incorporate lifestyle changes, stress management, and getting professional help. As there is ongoing research to understand the complexities, the importance of holistic approach becomes important, promoting better health and well-being.

By Dr. Manish Kak, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Manipal Hospital, Ghaziabad

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