The Gut, Brain, and Added Bacteria

The byline/tagline for this recently published study saying:

“Being a stressed-out kid can affect the bacteria in your gut — which can set you up for mental health problems down the line.”

While this article discusses the impact of early life stress combined with the exposure to (bad) bacteria, it continues to confirm the connection between “happy gut, happy brain,” which is something that is very important to the success of resetting your weight.  Listen to what studies have found:

“We are starting to explain the complex mechanisms of interaction and dynamics between the gut microbiota and its host,” Bercik said in a written statement. “Our data show that relatively minor changes in microbiota profiles … can have profound effects on host behaviour in adulthood.”

Many people who are resetting their weight are at a starting point with a poor diet.  Poor diet is an unhealthy gut.  An unhealthy gut is not only a source of excess weight, but has a “profound effect on … behavior.”  Think you’re only fighting a weight loss battle on the scale? Unfortunately, no.  The imbalance of bacteria in your gut is more than likely affecting your mind, making you stress out more and susceptible to anxiety more as a result of the gut-brain connection.  The article explains:

“There are several central mechanisms by which gut bacteria can communicate with the brain. First, imbalances in gut bacteria can trigger inflammation by increasing the permeability of the intestinal lining, which allows toxins to seep into the bloodstream. Research has linked pro-inflammatory markers (cytokines) and increased intestinal permeability with anxiety and depression.

Secondly, bacteria can produce neurotransmitters, which are carried through the blood to the brain. Bacteria can also stimulate specific nerves in the gut that then transmit information to the brain, Bercik said.”

This research does not come as a surprise to me.  I’ve known, rather felt, the inner conflict that they are bringing to light.  It’s encouraging to me that “I’m not imagining this; it is actually more difficult than it should be.”  Willpower aside, there is a scientific explanation as to why losing weight is more difficult for some, especially those who have a poor diet and stressed.  It’s like a double-whammy of negative factors subtly influencing your choice to eat healthy to lose weight!

In Reset Your Weight, I explore several factors (and the issue of willpower) in order to demonstrate the profound impact our food has on our body and mental state.  I’ve identified what I call the “Basic 3” to lose weight without exercise, and the scientific findings mentioned in this article lend excellent support to one of them: incorporation of probiotic food and drinks.

Their findings show that “relatively minor changes” are beneficial!  My previous post about my hubby drinking water kefir soda is a testimony to this.  It’s not a go big or go home type of life altering change that is required to turn the gut around.

“Fortunately, you can support gut health (and therefore mental health) by eating a diet that’s rich in probiotics — the “friendly” gut bacteria that support digestion and a balanced microbiome, and are known to boost immune and neurological function.”

Read the full article, How Early-Life Stress Could Increase Risk Of Anxiety And Depression Later In Life posted 7-30-2015


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