When Depression is a Symptom of Digestive Disease
Photo by Carolina Heza on Unsplash
Depression symptoms often include certain digestive problems. Research has shown that the makeup of bacteria in your gut can influence your emotional health. However, not all gastric issues are due to a mental health condition. Depending on your symptoms, you could have an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), two types of gastrointestinal (GI) conditions, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).
You might not realize just how sensitive your GI tract is to your emotions; When you’re upset you may feel physically nauseated, lose your appetite, or run for a comfort food. The brain and the gastrointestinal system are so closely linked that stomach issues can be the cause of, or the result of, anxiety, stress, or depression, according to Harvard Medical School experts.
Probiotics for A Healthy Gut and Brain
According to Dr. Alan Pressman of InVite® Health, “When you think of probiotics (healthy bacteria) the last thing you think about, if at all, is the brain. Probiotics mostly bring to mind gastrointestinal function, including digestion and absorption, immunity and manufacturing of vitamins K and B. However, several international research reviews indicate that probiotics play a major role in brain function including memory, concentration, focus, mood, appetite control, and even blood brain barrier health – the brains protective shield, especially when combined with the peripheral neurotransmitter serotonin in the gut where, in the brain, it’s a pacifier. In a recent research report from Sweden’s Karolina Institute, it states that our natural gut residing microbes play a role in controlling the permeability of the blood brain barrier which protects the brain from harmful substances in the blood. The report concluded that the transport of molecules across the blood brain barrier can be influenced by gut microbes which therefore play an important role in the protection of the brain.”
Brain vitamins have a great beneficial effect on the frontal lobe portion of the brain, which is involved in the higher cognitive functions such as problem solving, planning and organizing.
If your digestive symptoms go beyond what’s expected from depression, it’s time to check in with your doctor. Make a list of your symptoms, including when they started, how long they lasted, if you’ve had them in the past, and how you treated them, suggests the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
During the appointment, your doctor will ask about your condition, do a physical exam, and possibly even run lab tests to figure out the cause of your symptoms.
Digestive Health Supplements
Clinical studies from the top leading research institutions that observe digestive activity consistently point to the benefits of targeted nutrition for gastrointestinal health. In addition, the results from these studies also show that that specific digestive enzymes and digestive vitamins play a key role in supporting a healthy digestive tract. For good digestive health, we need to maintain healthy probiotic bacteria, or “good” bacteria levels. There are many types of bacteria that occur naturally in the intestines, some healthy and some unhealthy. A sufficient level of healthy bacteria has excellent benefits: it helps crowd out the unhealthy bacteria, improves digestion of vegetables and fiber, supports and maintains the individual immune system of your digestive tract, increases available energy for digestion, and maintaining regularity. Healthy probiotic bacteria also diminishes the rate of yeast and other harmful species, while offering protection from harmful food borne pathogens, such as Salmonella. Prescription drugs, poor diet, and overconsumption of alcohol and other toxins can decrease the population of healthy, protective intestinal bacteria, and restoring this healthy bacteria to a proper level is highly beneficial. Just remember, if you are going to be using any natural or herbal products then it is strongly recommended that you speak to a doctor first. Talk to an InVite® Nutritionist or Naturopathic Doctor at any of our store locations to design the perfect protocol of digestive vitamins for you.