As the holiday season approaches, it’s important to make sure we’re protecting our bodies so we can enjoy time with our loved ones. It’s especially important to make sure we’re maintaining our gut health as we partake in different celebrations.
Let’s discuss changes to your diet and different nutrients that can be incredibly supportive when dealing with irritable bowel syndrome.
The Gut-Brain Axis: The Link Between Your Gut and Brain, Part 2 – Invite Health Podcast, Episode 176
Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey. Ph
Welcome back to our episode on the gut-brain axis, the influence your gut has on your brain. In Part 1, I discussed how gut bacteria and your diet influence your memory. Check out Part 1 here if you missed it! Now, we’re going to look at how the gut impacts your mood.
PROBIOTICS, DEPRESSION AND STRESS
A study done at McMaster University in Canada published in the Journal of Gastroenterology showed that probiotics can improve symptoms of depression. Researchers worked with 44 adults who had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression. Half of the group took a daily dose of bifidobacterium longum for 12 weeks, while the other half took placebo at the same frequency. At the 6 week mark, 64% of the patients taking the probiotic had decreased scores on tests for depression. Only 32% of patients on placebo saw decreases in these scores. The patients were also given functional MRIs, which showed that the improvement in these scores was connected to changes in multiple brain regions involved with mood control.
Griffith University in Queensland, Australia performed a systematic review and meta analysis that was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The researchers looked at 7 different studies with over 300 participants and found that probiotics reduce psychological symptoms, stress, depression and anxiety. This helps prove the validity of the gut-brain axis.
A study in the Journal of Cephalalgia looked at patients who suffer from migraines. The researchers worked with people who have episodic migraines, meaning they have 14 or less migraines a month, as well as people who have chronic migraines, meaning 15 or more migraines a month. A group of these patients took a probiotic supplement with 14 different strains of gut-friendly bacteria for 10 weeks, while another group took placebo. Researchers found that the probiotic significantly improved a number of migraine-related symptoms in the patients. Patients with episodic migraines saw a 40% decrease in migraine days, and people with chronic migraines saw a decrease of 45%. Researchers also found that the probiotics reduced the intensity of episodic migraines by 29%, and of chronic migraines by 31%.
These studies are evidence that bacteria in the intestines affect the health of the brain. For all studies mentioned in this podcast episode, please listen to the full episode now by clicking the play button above or wherever you stream podcasts!
WHAT REDUCES HEALTHY BACTERIA IN THE BODY?
Here are some things that can reduce the amount of healthy bacteria you have in your body:
- NSAID drugs like Advil, Aleve, Celebrex and Aspirin
- Certain drugs for high blood pressure
- Certain drugs for diabetes
- Antibiotic drugs
- Steroid drugs like Medrol and Prednisone
- Hormones like estrogen and progesterone
- Obesity/having a big gut
- Elevated blood sugar
- Inhalation of cleaning products such as ammonia and bleach
NOT ALL PROBIOTICS ARE EQUAL
Not all probiotic supplements are made the same. Here are some qualities that you should look for when choosing a probiotic supplement:
- “Colony-forming unit” written on the label: This means that the bacteria in the supplement are actually alive.
- At least two strains of healthy bacteria, with at least a billion of each, in the formula: This is what makes the probiotic beneficial.
Questions about the gut-brain axis, Probiotics or anything regarding digestion/brain health? Leave us a comment below to join the discussion!
Thank you for tuning in to the Invite Health Podcast. For all studies mentioned in this podcast episode, please listen to the full episode now by clicking the play button above or wherever you stream podcasts! You can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or by visiting www.invitehealth.com/podcast. Make sure you subscribe and leave us a review! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at Invite Health today. We’ll see you next time on another episode of the Invite Health Podcast.
The Gut-Brain Axis: The Link Between Your Gut and Brain, Part 1 – Invite Health Podcast, Episode 175
Our gut is often referred to as our second brain. Expressions like “a gut feeling” or “butterflies in my stomach” refer to this connection. Much of this communication has to do with the trillions of bacteria that reside in our digestive tract.
A new study has found that people who drank red wine had an increased gut microbiota diversity, as well as an association with lower levels of obesity and ‘bad’ cholesterol. If there was ever a time to reach for a glass of red wine, it’s now!
Understanding the digestive system can seem intimidating. But could your system be trying to tell you something? It may not be fun to talk about but complications with digestion can result in a multitude of digestive issues and associated health problems, like heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea.
Here’s what your gut may be trying to tell you.
You need to rebalance your gut bacteria.
Bacteria is commonly thought of as negative. There are plenty of harmful bacteria that can lead to a number of risks when it comes to the bacteria inside of your body. But with harmful bacteria comes beneficial bacteria called Probiotics. Research suggests that choosing a quality probiotic will help with digestion and help you maintain a healthy gut.†
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that make up the microbiome in your gut or digestive tract and are the key to good health, especially to good digestion and regularity. Bacteria, though naturally present in the body, accounts for two pounds of bio-mass in your intestines, which need a balance of beneficial bacteria to promote good health.†
Levels of probiotics decrease with age and can also be affected by other factors, including a poor diet and obesity. As the levels of probiotics decrease, problematic bacteria in the gut thrive, which can lead to digestive problems like bloating and gas.
You are feeling the impact of pollutants or chemicals.
We live in an increasingly polluted environment, loaded with toxins; the soil we grow our food in is often nutrient-depleted and many consume processed, factory-made foods supplying scant nutrients. Ironically, our bodies wind up requiring even more vitamins and minerals to effectively metabolize nutrient-depleted foods. Add that depletion with less time spent outdoors, minimal exercise, prescription drugs and medications, and chronic stress, and the result is that many individuals are truly nutritionally deficient.
To make your gut happy, be sure to monitor what you are putting into your body. Nutritionally, you’ll want to stay away from processed foods and turn to whole foods instead. Topically, be sure you are reading what is on the labels of your favorite products like your skin cream and cleansers. Sixty percent of what you apply onto your skin gets absorbed into your body and blood stream.
You have a weak immune system.
Did you know that a good portion of the immune system is in the gut? Bacteria in the gut produce B-vitamins, but depending on the condition of your gut, the amount of nutrients being absorbed can be hindered. Frank Lipman, MD explains, “When your gut is balanced with good bacteria, it works properly to defend your body from infections, colds and illnesses. If there’s an imbalance, the body loses its ability to cope and ward off bad bugs, which leads to frequent sickness.”
The first step to strengthen your immune system is to focus on restoring and balancing your microbiome. To do that, you may want to turn to Probiotics. The next step is to turn to key enzymes that can help breakdown and improve your digestion, to help increase the absorption of nutrients into your body. Studies have shown that Bromelain, sourced from pineapple, is an enzyme that supports healthy digestion of proteins. Lactase is an enzyme that helps break down lactose to support the digestion of dairy products.†