“I had butterflies in the stomach.”
“She showed real Intestinal fortitude.”
“He’s got guts.”
These are just a few common expressions that reflect our deep intuition about the connection between our bellies and our brains.
Ever get so nervous you vomited? Ever get queasy on a first date? A growing body of evidence is confirming what we always knew intuitively: There is an inextricable link between our minds and our bodies. What’s more, the effect of inflammation in the digestive system on our mood is even stronger than we ever imagined.
The Mood-Changing Power of Inflammation
Your gut plays a critical role in your body’s hormone and immune system regulation. The digestive system houses the body’s largest concentration of mood-altering neurotransmitters, including serotonin and is the reason behind how the health of our gut can and does affect your mood. That’s why so many scientists now refer to the stomach as the body’s “Second Brain.”
A balanced gut microbiome or “Second Brain” is one that contains a ratio of about 85% “good” bacteria (probiotics), and about 15% “bad” bacteria (pathogens, that cause inflammation and disease). The more probiotics, the more balanced your gut will become. The more balanced your stomach is, the less swelling and the less inflammation you will experience, causing your body to be more stable and you to experience more positive moods.
One startling example of the link between belly and brain happened in 2015. Following a gastrectomy, a patient developed their first manic episode. Researchers hypothesized a connection between their bad gut bacteria buildup and their bad mental state—and they were right. The patient was given activated charcoal, which absorbs inflammatory cytokines and acts by neutralizing the effect of inflammatory mediators in the stomach. After 15 days of treatment, the patient’s mania disappeared, and he remained manic-free for the subsequent eight months of the study.
Scientists have long known that depression is commonly found in sufferers of autoimmune diseases, gastrointestinal inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, type 2-diabetes, and cancer–diseases synonymous with chronic low-grade inflammation. In many cases, treating the inflammation has treated the mood disorder.
Get a Healthy Second Brain, and the Mind Will Follow
If you want to improve your mood, you must stop inflammation first. To prevent inflammation, some of the things you can do include: follow a healthy low sugar diet, get adequate exercise, meditate, and, perhaps most importantly, introduce a daily dose of natural supplements such as turmeric, krill oil, and probiotics. If you take good care of the “Second Brain”, the mind is sure to follow.
Top 3 Inflammation-Killing, Mood-Improving Supplements
Research of anti-inflammatory agents such as Omega-3 rich krill oil, probiotics, and turmeric supplements have shown to be helpful in treating a host of mood and mental maladies.
With the added help of probiotics, you can maintain optimal gut flora for optimal digestive health and inflammation reduction.
Shopping Tip: Look for probiotics with the highest number of CFUs, unique strains, and adequate packaging.
The natural spice turmeric has been used for millennia and has been clinically shown to be one of the most effective ways of fighting inflammation and improving overall mood.
Shopping Tip: Look for Turmeric Curcumin with 1000 mg as the daily dosage. Also, make sure it contains BioPerine to help absorption.
Omega-3 fatty acids (best taken in the form of krill oil, a safer, more effective alternative to fish oil) have long been shown to reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety, and improve depression.
Shopping Tip: Look for a krill oil that is carefully tested and contains a daily dose of at least 1,500 mg of Pure Krill Oil with high levels of EPA, DHA, Phospholipids, and Astaxanthin.