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December 15, 2022

How The Bacteria In Your Gut Determines Your Mood

Posted In: Fitness & Wellness

Many of the clients from Totowa, NJ, and surrounding areas understand that you need more than just exercise to lose weight and be your healthiest. You need a healthy diet, too. A healthy diet does more than just help you lose weight. It provides nutrition. What you eat also makes a difference in your gut microbiome—the type of bacteria and other microbes in gut. They affect everything from your digestion and the nutrients delivered to your body to your mood.

There’s a lot of microbes in your gut.

The number of microbes is only estimated and the estimations vary widely. Scientists believe there’s anywhere from 1.3 microbes to 10 microbes for every human cell in the body. Your gut has somewhere between 300 to over 1,000 different species of microbes, with some harmful and others helpful. Microbes are linked to preventing diseases, such as autism, celiac disease, heart disease, obesity, malnutrition and asthma. When you have an imbalance of microbes, it can cause mental disorders and changes in behavior. It can make you feel anxious and depressed, too.

At one time, it was thought that the emotions controlled the gut, not scientists think differently.

It’s a constant battle for control in your gut with the good bacteria trying to keep the bad bacteria that affect your health in check. Gut bacteria studies on people with mental issues, such as ADHD, OCD, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, show there’s an imbalance or overgrowth of some microbes and too few of others. At first, they thought the imbalance came from the mental disorder, but now believe it may be the other way around. The imbalance can cause intestinal permeability, malnutrition and inflammation, too.

The gut bacteria help to create many of the neurotransmitters.

The brain and gut are in constant contact via the vagus nerve, which connects directly to the central nervous system, connecting the lungs, heart and digestive tract. If your gut microbes are out of balance, it can cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Inflammation affects the entire body, including the brain. The gut-brain axis continues when you consider different types of bacteria which help synthesize different types of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, GABA and serotonin, which are responsible for making you feel good or calm. The gut also helps make other brain chemicals, such as BDNF—brain-derived neurotrophic factor. It protects the brains and improves the signal strength between neurons. Scientists have found a connection between low BDNF and anxiety, depression and learning.

  • Your gut synthesizes vitamins and minerals. That includes vitamins like B6, B12 and folate, which are associated with mood, nerve and brain function. Studies showed niacin was beneficial for schizophrenia and B vitamins helped depression and alcoholism.
  • Factors that can damage the microbiome include high consumption of refined sugar and grains, taking antibiotics, inadequate fiber, alcohol abuse, stress, processed vegetable oils, like corn oil and canola and foods with gluten.
  • Exercise can help get your gut microbes back to normal. It can increase the gut microbes that produce short chain fatty acids, which aid immunity, metabolism and create neurotransmitters that affect your mood.
  • Improve your gut health and your mood by eating healthier. Choose foods higher in fiber and those without added sugar. Avoid processed food. Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep also affects the gut microbiome. Exercise regularly.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness Studio