Search

The Way to BE

Is Your Gut Health Linked to Your Anxiety?

Products that may interest you:

  • InnergyBiotic 750mL

    InnergyBiotic 750mL

    A Delicious and Refreshing Source of Probiotics

    • Helps maintain a healthy balance of microflora in the digestive tract
    • Boost Your Energy
    • Helps maintain healthy digestion

Breaking research suggests that children who complain about a stomachache may be worth listening to - especially if that child also shows signs of anxiety.

The gut contains every class of neurotransmitter that the brain contains.

While many parents and even doctors will shrug off a child that often complains of a tummy ache—with no physical cause—research shows that children with abdominal pain are more likely to develop anxiety as teenagers and young adults.

A study released this past month in Pediatrics followed 332 children with recurring stomachaches. (1) And while these children complained of stomach pain, there was no infection, no mechanical disorder, and no structural abnormality that would cause stomach pain.

As this group of children reached young adulthood, they were compared with 147 children who had never had stomachaches.

As it turns out, children that complain of stomach pain are far more likely to develop an anxiety disorder as an adult, even when there is no longer any abdominal pain.

Anxiety and the Gut-Brain Axis

Research has proven time and again that your gut health is linked to your emotional wellbeing. Nourishing your inner ecology could offer the key to calm chronic anxiety.

The question researchers and physicians face is this: Is stomach pain causing anxiety, or is anxiety causing stomach pain?

When it comes to anxiety with stomach pain, physicians are more inclined to treat the anxiety—or refer out to a mental healthcare practitioner. Especially when there is no longer any stomach pain. (2)

When you dig deeper into the human physiology, you will find that the brain and the gut are connected. They share a unique relationship where the state of one affects the state of the other.

Otherwise known as the gut-brain axis, neurons in the gut and neurons in the brain are in constant communication with each other. In fact, you could even say that the gut has a “mind” of its own.

You will find over 100 million neurons in the gut—more than you will find in the spinal cord. And the gut can function on its own, without any input from the brain or central nervous system. (3)

What’s more, the gut contains every class of neurotransmitter that the brain contains. A neurotransmitter is a chemical messenger used by the nervous system. One that you may have heard of before is serotonin.

Serotonin keeps you feeling happy, calm, and relaxed. Researchers have decided that serotonin is so important that a large number of antidepressants have been developed to trick the body into thinking it has more serotonin than it really does.

But did you know that about 95% of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut?

Your Inner Ecosystem and Your Happiness

While it may sound far-fetched, your inner ecosystem and your emotional wellbeing are linked.

In fact, the more researchers investigate the gut-brain axis, the more they realize just how interrelated the nervous system, the immune system, and the hormonal system are.

For example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a classic example of an imbalanced gut-brain axis. IBS is marked by:

  • Stomach pains and cramping
  • Release of specific brain chemicals
  • Low levels of inflammation, or an immune system that’s turned up
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Changes in behavior, such as depression and anxiety
  • Changes in the ecosystem of the gut (4)

Key risk factors for IBS include gut infections or the overuse of antibiotics, which wipe out the good bacteria in the digestive tract. (5)

Researchers have found that these good gut bacteria actually synthesize feel-good brain chemicals that circulate through your bloodstream. (6) This may explain why other studies have found that probiotics have an overall calming effect and reduce anxiety. (7)(8)

Still other research published this past June in Gastroenterology has found that fermented milk products, such as kefir, affect regions in the brain that control how you process emotions and sensation. (9) Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, lead author of the study and an associate professor of medicine in the digestive diseases division of UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine explains, "Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street."

The gut plays a significant role in your happiness and your perception of happiness—whether or not you have a history of stomach pain or antibiotic overuse. The best forms of probiotics to support your gut health and wellbeing are fermented foods and probiotic beverages.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Research has proven that children with stomach pain are more likely to experience anxiety as teens and young adults. Even when that tummy ache goes away, kids that have complained of stomach pain are more susceptible to an anxiety disorder as an adult.

As you explore the gut-brain axis, you'll find that the brain and the gut share a unique connection. The gut contains every class of neurotransmitter found in the brain. The gut also contains about 95% of the body's feel-good chemical, serotonin.

The health of your inner ecosystem dictates your emotional health. Good bacteria found in fermented foods and probiotic beverages can actually help the gut to synthesize beneficial brain chemicals to calm anxiety. Other studies have proven that fermented milk products like kefir can impact how you process emotions. Yes, eating to boost your digestive health can have an added bonus in improving your overall wellbeing!

  • InnergyBiotic 750mL

    InnergyBiotic 750mL

    A Delicious and Refreshing Source of Probiotics

    • Helps maintain a healthy balance of microflora in the digestive tract
    • Boost Your Energy
    • Helps maintain healthy digestion
  • Veggie Culture Starter

    Veggie Culture Starter

    Resist Infections, Enhance Digestion

    • Ideal for appetite and weight control
    • Ideal for pregnant women
    • Ideal for children with Autism and ADD
    • Curbs cravings for bread, sweets and dairy
  • Kefir Starter

    Kefir Starter

    Better Digestion, Boost Immunity

    Kefir has many benefits, including better digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It has been known for thousands of years for its anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties.

    Kefir is an ancient cultured food, rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Kefir means "feel good" in Turkish, and that's just how you'll feel after drinking a glass in the morning! Easy and fun to make at home, it is superior to commercial yogurt. An absolute must after antibiotic use!

    Unlike yogurt, kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract and is simple and fun to make at home. To make kefir: Mix one packet with 1 quart of warm milk, cover and set at room temperature for 18-24 hours. Refrigerate and enjoy!

    Each packet yields 1 quart of kefir, and can be reused up to 7 times. This means you can create 10 ½ gallons of kefir from one box!

    • Digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates
    • Has anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties
    • Rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins
    • An absolute must after antibiotic use

REFERENCES:

  1. Shelby, G. D., Shirkey, K. C., Sherman, A. L., Beck, J. E., Haman, K., Shears, A. R., ... & Walker, L. S. (2013). Functional Abdominal Pain in Childhood and Long-term Vulnerability to Anxiety Disorders. Pediatrics.
  2. Saint Louis, C. (2013). Risk of Adult Anxiety Seen in Children’s Stomachaches. NYTimes. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/risk-of-adult-anxiety-seen-in-childrens-stomachaches/. Retrieved 09-01-13.
  3. Gershon, M. (1999). The second brain: A groundbreaking new understanding of nervous disorders of the stomach and intestine. HarperCollins.
  4. Clarke, G., Quigley, E. M., Cryan, J. F., & Dinan, T. G. (2009). Irritable bowel syndrome: towards biomarker identification. Trends in molecular medicine, 15(10), 478-489.
  5. Mayer, E. A., & Tillisch, K. (2011). The brain-gut axis in abdominal pain syndromes. Annual Review of Medicine, 62, 381-396.
  6. Lyte, M. (2011). Probiotics function mechanistically as delivery vehicles for neuroactive compounds: microbial endocrinology in the design and use of probiotics. Bioessays, 33(8), 574-581.
  7. Sartor, R. B. (2005). Probiotic therapy of intestinal inflammation and infections. Current opinion in gastroenterology, 21(1), 44-50.
  8. Rao, A. V., Bested, A. C., Beaulne, T. M., Katzman, M. A., Iorio, C., Berardi, J. M., & Logan, A. C. (2009). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Gut Pathogens, 1(1), 1-6.
  9. Tillisch, K., Labus, J., Kilpatrick, L., Jiang, Z., Stains, J., Ebrat, B., ... & Mayer, E. A. (2013). Consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity. Gastroenterology.

  • Comment with Facebook
  • Comment as a Guest
Community Poll

What Health Topics Are You Most Interested In?

Newsletter

Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

Please wait...

Continue shopping
View cart & checkout
Continue shopping
View cart & checkout