Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 29 November 2016
Did you know that you have more receptors for serotonin in your gut than you do in your brain? Also, the bacteria in our gut make more than 90% of important neurotransmitters, serotonin being one of them.
Mental health is interdependent on gut health. It’s biochemically that simple.
Serotonin is often known as our happy hormone. No wonder when people slide away from eating lots of real food they feel grumpy, unhappy, and can’t deal with stress well. We see this demonstrated most obviously in kids. Who hasn’t experienced a two year old on the verge of a temper tantrum after eating sugar all afternoon and it’s getting close to bedtime?
Unfortunately conventional medicine has led us to believe that depression is a Prozac or Paxil deficiency. A chemical imbalance in the brain that needs to be fixed by medication. But how did that imbalance occur in the first place and shouldn’t we be treated the cause and not the symptom?
Boston-based psychiatrist Dr James Greenblatt says the workings of our gastrointestinal tract—and the bacteria contained within it—affect our mental health.
‘The microbiome is the collection of bacteria in the GI tract, and for years we always thought that our thoughts and our feelings affect our GI tract, so we might get stomach aches or we might get diarrhoea when we are nervous. But over the past 20 years or so, we now understand that the gut can affect brain function. What we are finding is that this collection of bacteria, this microbiome if you will, has tremendous neurophysiological effects on mood and behaviour and appetite.”
Here are 3 tips on how to keep our gut and therefore our brain healthy:
Now I would love to hear from you! What did you find surprising about this article? What do you do to keep your gut and consequently your brain healthy? Leave a comment below and I’ll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday.
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