So you’ve scoured the internet for what feels probably like an eternity!.. You’ve spent hours reading, comparing, reflecting, trying to work out what is actually up with you.. You’ve spent countless hours queuing at your doctors for them to look strangely at you when you explain what’s wrong with you, numerous tests and procedures to be carried out for no real answers to seemingly be available from the people who you thought could, and would, fix everything…
Then, you stumble across content on the net talking about ‘gut permeability’ and ‘porous gut lining’ which probably makes next to no sense to you, until… you read an alarmingly lengthy list of possible symptoms, some of which, probably relate to you and your struggles.
I remember very well how elated I quickly started to feel when I realised Imay be on to something here, and perhaps, just perhaps! I could start to work out what on earth was up with me.
At first, your initial elation may have been eaten up by dread when the reality of what you’ve got to start doing begins to sink in.. I remember thinking, “so no fast food ever again” “no beer ever again” “is my life over?”
These really were thoughts I’ve had before, all of which have a negative cogitation attached to them.
Reality is, tackling leaky gut is a major affair (we will go into a crash course on tacking this another time) which takes a mindshift that affects all areas of one’s life, and while things do get better as you adjust, the change in life style, eating habits, sleeping patterns, stress in left (inc exercise and partying) all are effected in some way – this is bound to have an impact on your mental state of mind.
The gut / brain link is clear , ever wondered why when something significantly bad happens in our lives, or something we dread, we feel it in the pit of our stomachs? This is down the the link between the two, one of the largest nerves connecting the two is our Vagus Nerve which is connected via our nervous system – research suggests our stomachs store upto 90% of our capacity serotonin to store – our happy brain juice – so you can start to understand why we as people need to consider, and appreciate why we need to be keeping an eye on ourselves in terms of our general mood and emotional state, because with leaky gut in play, your body is currently not its happy balance.
Depression is of the biggest culprits of disability worldwide. 1 in 5 of us will be affected in some way, sometime in our lives. I too have been affected by depression , thankfully something that’s behind me now.
Another key factor playing a role here in the brain/gut connection is our Gut Microbiota – we all have one – deep within our stomachs – this is considered an organ in itself, can weigh upto 2kgs in weight! And is responsible for the good and bad bacteria in your tummy including fungi, viruses etc.
This organ with a healthy balance of micro organisms will maintain a healthy physical gut / mental relationship. If this balance is not there, due to poor diet, stress or overly sanitised environments for example, the profile is not there to sustain a balance. People with depression have been linked to a different profile within the Gt Microbiota, than healthy people without depression. An interesting read on the subject can be found here.
There is a lot of research out there for you to read, majority of which supports the link between mental health and gut health. I am witness to such feelings of negativity when confronted by the realisation that my lifestyle must take a shift for a more positive long term outlook. By taking pragmatic view of the situation, breaking down what we need to change piece by piece, we can start to deploy the change in life style needed in a manageable way – not overnight basically. And don’t be afraid to go see your doctor, no advice found online can be considered a substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are struggling mentally with the physicalities of managing your gut health.
We have a blog available to read on ‘Tackling your Gut Health’ – please take a look for a step by step guide on how to approach this in a manageable way. Best of luck.