Gut Microbiome and Mental Health: Tips to Improve Yours
Microbiome and your mental health
Microbiome is the community of viruses, fungi and bacteria that live within your gut. We need these organisms for optimal health. Since the discovery that microbiome and mental health might be related, there has been increasing interest in the last few years about gut microbiome. This has raised some concerns about the relationship between the gut microbiome and mental health.
There are a number of factors that affect the development of microbiome, how it works and its effectiveness in fulfilling its role. Genetics play a large role in the development of gut microbiome as well as lifestyle. Diet is the most obvious factor of what can change your gut microbiome. In addition, alcohol consumption, sleep disruptions and smoking.
Gut microbiome has been found to be home to a number of neurons, earning it the name as a “second brain” which implies that the role of the gut may include more than digestion. Studies show that the gut produces neurotransmitters and that this may play some role in its interactions with the brain. Neurotransmitters in our brain play an important role in our actions and are necessary for nearly everything that we do.
Influences on microbiome
The discovery of neurotransmitters in your gut has produced questions of how they might influence our mental health, directly or indirectly. The gut-mind connection has received a lot of media attention in recent years, resulting in people emphasizing the importance of diet. While many mental health disorders such as autism have been correlated with gastrointestinal issues, it is still difficult to know whether these gut disturbances are a precursor or result of mental health disorders.
Often there are combinations of factors that lead to complex mental health disorders. While there are cases where dietary changes might be helpful it may not always solve the root of the problem. Understanding how our guts work has a lot of implications, starting with mental health.
However, there are many different mental health disorders and each has its own complex risk factors. Living a lifestyle with a healthy diet is the best route for optimized health both mentally and physically, but it is not always possible in our busy, modern lives. There are also uncontrollable external factors, like stress, jobs and pollution that might affect your gut microbiome.
Therefore, while it’s good to be informed about diet and gut microbiome, it is not the end all, be all. It’s important to do your best to stay healthy and receive help from doctors, nutritionists and psychologists when necessary.
Do you or someone you know want help?
Lifeline Connections offers an integrated, holistic approach that includes therapy and case management. In addition, our doctors specialize in the treatment of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
Above all, they can work to design a custom plan for wellness. Additionally, secure treatment is over the phone or computer with telehealth, providing coping skills for grief, loss, depression and anxiety. In short, they will work with you one-on-one to get you feeling better. So, contact us and reclaim your life.