Mental health is a complex issue. It’s incredibly difficult to identify or pinpoint specific reasons why, for example, we get depressed or our children develop autism.
Sometimes we feel helpless in the face of our own suffering or watching the daily mental decline of a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
I’m not saying that the state of our gut is THE cause of mental health issues. What I’m saying is that there’s mounting evidence that it may be a MUCH bigger factor than we could ever have imagined.
The fact is that gut health is not yet on most people’s radar as a factor at all. But what if we could radically improve our chances of overcoming mental health issues by fixing our gut?
Brain diseases have reached epidemic levels in recent decades. There has been an explosion in the number of children developing autism and ADHD. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health issues for adults, affecting around 10% of people in the UK and USA in any given year.
Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise in our elderly population as we live longer (but not healthier) lives.
Stunning Scientific Developments
It’s only in the last decade or so that the frontiers of science have expanded enough to discover that our microbiome plays a huge role in these conditions. Take a look at: The Gut-Brain Connection.
‘Microbiome’ is the scientific name for the bacteria that live inside us. We used to think they were passengers, just along for the ride, but we now know that they play a huge role in how our body functions, from our digestive system to our metabolism, our immune system and brain health.
Check out: What is my microbiome and why does it matter?
Our microbiome is in constant communication with our brain via the vagus nerve that runs deep down into our gut. These friendly critters are also having a constant conversation with our immune system, helping it to determine friend from foe.
Another strange but crucial thing the microbiome does is help the immune system to find the correct level of response to threats. I go into this in more detail here: Supercharge your body to crush autoimmune conditions.
One thing that happens when the microbiome gets out of balance – meaning too many nasty bacteria and not enough good ones – is that inflammation spreads throughout the body and hangs around.
I explain more about the mechanism here: Inflammation – Putting out the fire.
Inflammation is an important element of many chronic diseases including obesity, heart disease and autoimmune conditions. It is also now thought to be factor in brain disease
Another factor at play is leaky gut. Again this happens when the balance of good and bad bacteria swings in favour of the baddies.
Our gut lining becomes more gappy than it should be, enabling stuff to pass from the gut into the body that doesn’t belong there. This can happen, for example, to partially digested proteins from that piece of bread you ate earlier.
Leaky gut also enables toxins produced by bad bacteria to pass into the body. These toxins can then potentially pass through the brain’s protective membrane, known as the blood-brain barrier. The result is that our delicate brain chemistry gets a spanner in the works.
Recent studies have shown that the blood-brain barrier can also become more gappy, just like leaky gut!
One particularly nasty toxin is known as LPS, short for lipopolysaccharide, and it’s produced by certain bacteria. In animal studies LPS produces instant inflammation and Alzheimers-type symptoms!
In humans it’s believed to trigger flareups of autoimmune conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and it’s also linked with obesity and brain disease, again because of the inflammation it provokes.
Our friendly bacteria, on the other hand, produce important and helpful brain chemicals like neurotransmitters serotonin, glutamate and GABA. They also produce important vitamins such as B12, low levels of which are involved in depression and dementia.
What can we do about all this? I recommend seven easy steps that will transform the health of your microbiome by tipping the balance back in favour of the good guys.
Why not give yourself or your loved ones the best possible odds of overcoming or completely avoiding potentially life ruining brain diseases?
- Eat more unprocessed, homemade food and eat less junk food.
- In particular eat less refined carbs like white bread, pasta, pastries, cereal, as the bad bacteria LOVE these.
- Take a good quality probiotic for at least 3-6 months.
- Have a little live, fermented food or drink – like yoghurt, sauerkraut or kombucha – with every meal.
- Don’t go crazy on the antibiotics! Be guided by your doctor, but you don’t need them as much as you think. Save them for real emergencies and instead try a natural antibiotic.
- Lifestyle – make at least one change today out of this list:
- Exercise consistently, light or heavy intensity, both help our friendly gut bugs.
- Drink less alcohol!
- Be less stressed!
Also consider one-on-one coaching with Naomi or Paige, our two highly qualified and highly experienced gut-health coaches. There’s nothing like coaching to massively accelerate your progress and achieve the results you dream about! Go ahead and read about how our coaching works here.
53 thoughts on “Brain Health Begins In The Gut”
I have been making a list of all the foods that irritate my stomach because it seems like no matter what I eat my gut is always affected.
You have set the tone absolutely right that mental health is a complex issue and we should do what we can to tackle it, thanks a lot for the advise and I think they will help a lot of people.
“Eat more unprocessed, homemade food and eat less junk food.” This is one of the best tips I have ever lived by! I love to make homemade food because they are really delicious and great for the body!
This is a really informative and well put together article! I really had to take a look at my diet when I was struggling with c-PTSD. I found that adding certain foods like blueberries, avocados, walnuts, almonds, and dark chocolate would make a HUGE difference on my mood and sense of well being. 🙂
This is interesting, I didn’t know that the gut is more important. Thank you for sharing!
This makes a lot of sense! I think it’s another thing to consider when planning what we eat.
This is a very interesting post. It’s amazing how everything is connected – not only physically, but also mentally. One should ‘simply’ take good care of the body and mind – and soul. They all work together – if we are lucky, in our favor.
We need to regularly check our gut making sure it is healthy and functions well. A simple discomfort will lead to a bigger problem.
This is great advice. I have rarely taken antibiotics. I have also virtually cut white pasta and bread from my familys diet.
Fantastic info! I do find that when I take some kind of probiotic that it helps me feel better as a whole so I agree gut health is important.
I’ve been having tummy troubles, and I think I am going to switch over to less processed foods. Thank you for explaining this so well!
So much useful information here! To be honest I haven’t looked into this before until now. Thanks for raising awareness 🙂
ohh wow….learnt so much, didnt know gut health relates to brain health 😀
thanks for sharing this informative post. cheers, siennylovesdrawing
I have learned a lot about my gut thanks to you. I will try to take care it more carefully.
I have been working on my gut issues a little at a time… making small changes. I am still a little fatigued and my mental clarity isn’t where it should be, but its getting there.
This is such important and useful information! We’ve been trying to take these action steps, even adding sugar to Action Step #1. It’s so hard, though, when it seems like everything is processed. Thankfully, my 17 year old son is a foodie so it’s fun for us to cook together and try new upscale restaurants which use fresh ingredients.
great post! I do try to give my gut more love especially for the impact it has on everything else. I have lost my grandmother to dementia in the end of 2020 and I am scared I might go through the same process
I’ve heard so much about mental health issues. I hope we can live and make this world a better place to live in.
Thanks for sharing this many valuable information, and I learned so much. We need to invest ourselves to stay healthy than anything.
Good post! You have broken down this information nicely for everyone to understand. I am trying to embrace your tips — I have started eating yogurt regularly again and started exercising again. Thanks for sharing!
I completely understand the relation between microbiome and the optimal functioning of the brain!
You have explained it so well so that even a non medical person understand the reasoning behind this. Gut health is important and also a reason for many other adjoining illnesses.
This is definitely helpful information. I never realized that gut health contributes to brain health. That’s all the more reason to keep your gut in good condition.
This was very informtive. What we eat is very important to our health.
This is really informative. Thanks for sharing.
I’m guilty of eating too much junk food. I also drunk a few times during the quarantine. After reading this post, I realized I should be extra careful with what I eat and a bit of lifestyle adjustment would be helpful! Thank you very much for these tips!
It is amazing that nature provide us with the ways to best meet the needs of our body.
a latte of blessings & sparkles,
I am feeling the same thing. I am trying my best to keep sane. Thanks you for this post.
I never thought that I could have a leaky gut til I took your quiz. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
I love all of these tips. They say many of our ailments and diseases come from our gut so its time to heal it.
Our gut is the busiest part of our body, and we need to take care of it. Thanks for the tips of this article.
Good Points here, I suggest having a vitamin deficiency test. My husband had suffered from depression. later I found out that he lacks in Vitamin B,D and in need of some omega for focus. It’s good that people are more open in mental health issues.
Gut health affects us in so many ways. Luckily, some of the inflammation can be helped by making better food choices. I try to mainly shop from the outside aisles of the grocery store, where the fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meats are located.
What a great set of suggestions! Lifestyle change is definitely a must.
These are vital information. Indeed, food can either heal us or poison us. Let’s choose healthy food for overall wellness.
It is a very useful post. Eat good food and stay healthy.
Mental health is very timely to address because of the pandemic and other situations that can kills society. Thanks for this wonderful tips that will help a lot.
It’s scary to think about how much our food can affect vital parts of our body!
This is a very educative article, definitely learnt a lot.
Wow, I didn’t know that your gut health affects your mental health as well. Interesting read, thanks for sharing!
Thank you for the great tips, hopefully they help everybody
A great post with lots of important information I needed to know. Thank you for sharing.
Amazing how different parts of the body can affect seemingly unrelated parts. Very interesting.
We are what we eat so it makes sense that putting good things in our body would only serve to improve our brain health. I try to be more conscious of the foods I eat or drink and notice I feel better when I eat a more plant-based, less processed diet.
Always great to see someone inspiring good, healthy habits. And lately, I have controlled the amount of refined carbs I take in. I like to treat them more as rewards, for when I go to a restaurant or something (:
I love the way you broke this down and the action steam. I have a big sweet tooth, but the things to get a healthier gut and brain don’t see unreasonable or impossible for me to do. thanks!
So interesting! Didn’t know it could affect the brain!
I’ve got to avoid the junk food better. Thankfully, I do love yogurt and sauerkraut!
This was such a great read! I suffer from anxiety adhd and I am learning that there is a connection to what I eat. My father also suffers from an autoimmune disease so we know all about that as well. What we eat is crucial to our overall l wellbeing. Thank you for sharing this!!
your tips are fantastic…i love that more and more people are talking about the gut and i find its link to our mental health so fascinating!
Thank you for this! I have been very intrigued recently with the food we eat and mental health. I have celiac disease and ever since being diagnosed have really been a different person mentally. I used to be depression, full of rage, etc, etc. It is hard to explain to many people, but I without a doubt know it to be true. I’m so happy to find your site and look forward to connecting with you!
I have been suffering with unusual fatigue, achy limbs and brain fog. Tests have not found anything, a rheumatologist eventually diagnosed fibromyalgia. After a few weeks of taking a pre and pro biotic daily I have more energy and am more mentally able.
A good gut is very important for overall health. The post was very informative and helpful. Thanks.