Are Gut Health and Mental Heath Related?

The gut is said to be the second brain. The complexity of the gut and how it impacts our health has constant evolving research. We currently know that gut health is linked to our mood, mental health, heart health, immune system, dermatological issues, endocrine disorders and even cancer.
The universe of your gut is called the gut microbiome, which is trillions of microbes that live in your gut. We know that there are at least 1,000 species of bacteria in the gut microbiome and each play a different role in the body. Some are very important in players in your health and others can be detrimental.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the development of your gut microbiome starts before you are born and diversifies as you grow. A more diverse microbiome is good for your health.
In today’s world, many people think that gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea  are normal consequences to eating certain foods. However, the real truth is that those symptoms or reactions from your body can be your gut yelling for help! Eating processed foods and added sugars has been proven to decrease the good bacteria in your gut.
Other warning signs that you gut may be out of balance are:
An increase of decrease in weight without change to your diet or exercise habits.
Problems sleeping, insomnia, or chronic fatigue. (Serotonin is a hormone that affects your sleep and mood. Guess where it is produced?! The gut!)
Dermatological issues
Autoimmune diseases
Food intolerance or food allergies
Jay Pasricha, M.D. at John Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology has conducted research on the enteric nervous system (ENS) and how it communicates back and forth with our brain.
Researchers have discovered evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system can trigger mood changes. Which is shedding light on why many people with gastrointestinal issues develop depression and anxiety. Up to 40% of the population has functional bowl problems at some point. That is huge!
Researchers are also looking into the connection between cognition (thinking stills and memory) and the gut.
As you can see gut health and mental health are related. I know I have experienced brain fog many times when dealing with gut issues, especially when I have been glutened! I also experience shifts in mood and I become irritable and depressed. 

Have you noticed any cognitive issues after you eat certain foods? Join the discussion in Gluten Free Ladies  as I talk with other women about gut issues and I share tips on how I have learned to overcome many of them in Clearing the Fog Challenge  


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