If you suffer with mood disorders such as anxiety or depression the first point of call is to look at your gut.
This is due to a little thing called the “gut-brain-axis” (GBA).
The GBA consists of bi–directional communication between the nervous system and the GI system, and studies are showing that many neurological conditions are linked to dysbiosis, (an imbalance of good and bad bacteria), aka: poor gut health.
We now know that our microbiota, (gut bacteria) influences brain neurochemistry.
An area where the GBA becomes fascinatingly apparent is in autism. 70% of autistic children suffer from GI symptoms and studies have found decreased Bifidobacteria and Prevotella and higher levels of Lactobacillus, Sutterella and Firmicutes – independent of diet – are common in children with autism.
Studies conducted on germ-free mice have demonstrated that gut bacteria influence stress reactivity and anxiety-like behaviour and also regulates the set-point for HPA activity, (think “adrenal fatigue”). Additionally, in germ-free mice memory is impaired.
An example of how gut health can impact mood is seen in those infected by Clostridium difficile (C. diff). C. diff is something we see on a GI Map, which I run with my clients. C. diff can impact an enzyme called “dopamine beta-hydroxylase” that prevents dopamine breaking down properly. When this happens we can see anxiety, aggression and other mood disorders.
Our microbiota also produces neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin, melatonin, histamine and acetylcholine. In fact, we now know that more than 90% of the body's total production of serotonin and more than 50% of the body's total dopamine is produced in the gut, not the brain.
Finally, our gut bacteria play a key role in the way we produce and metabolize our sex hormones and thyroid hormone, which impact mood and brain function.
Looking at the gut is a must if you have mood disorders. There are other things to consider too, such as minerals, and all these things are things I explore with my clients. If you’d like to work with me to get on top of your mood issues once and for all, please click here and apply, (I only taken on women who are serious and committed to making a difference in their health).