Numerous studies suggest a bidirectional relationship between a person’s gut and mental health. Both diet and probiotics may help people improve their mental health.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health concern in the United States. Digestive diseases are also a concern.
Research exploring whether anxiety and gut disorders are linked has focused on the “gut-brain axis,” a complex system of communication between the two organs, and the role of microorganisms in people’s gastrointestinal tract.
This article discusses the relationship between anxiety and gut health, anxiety symptoms and how to manage anxiety and gut well-being.
The gut, also known as the gastrointestinal system (GI), is a group of organs and nerves that interact with each other.
Learn more about digestion.
The GI lining contains another control hub, the enteric nerve system (ENS). The ENS contains 100 million nerve cell and can operate independently of the brain. Scientists believe it may play a role in the relationship between the gut and a person’s state of mental health.
According to a
Experts believe that the ENS may also trigger major emotional shifts for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS, and other digestive disorders. Irritation in your GI could send signals to your CNS that can trigger mood changes.
How does gut health impact anxiety?
Numerous studies have examined the relationship between anxiety and gut microbiota. The gut microbiota is a system of microorganisms in a person’s GI,
The gut microbiota is crucial in regulating the immune system, as well as converting food into energy. Scientists believe that changes in the microbiota may affect these functions and can also impact mental health.
Learn more about inflammation.
IBS, a GI disorder characterized by inflammation and possible microbiota alterations has a co-occurrence rate of between 44 and 88%With anxiety and depression. This relationship may be causal. More research is needed.
Scientists believe that gut microbiota regulates the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin.
Everyone experiences some anxiety. An anxiety disorder is when a person is constantly worried and unable to function in their daily lives.
According to the NAMIAnxiety disorders can be described as a collection of related conditions that each have their own symptoms. People with anxiety disorders often experience fearful or anxious thoughts in situations that are not dangerous.
Anxiety and Depression are both common.
An anxiety disorder can cause some of the following symptoms in people:
Learn more about anxiety symptoms and signs.
There are many treatment options that can be used to manage anxiety symptoms.
Healthcare professionals may recommend a combination of methods, and treatment will vary depending on a person’s symptoms, preferences, and general health.
Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” is a
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).Numerous
studieshave shown CBT’s efficacy in treating anxiety disorders. CBT focuses primarily on finding ways to reduce anxiety-provoking beliefs or behaviors.
- Exposure therapyThis behavioral therapy can help overcome certain phobias. Psychiatric professionals can help people expose themselves to stimuli or situations that trigger fear or panic. Over time, these feelings diminish.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy:This type of therapy uses mindfulness and goal setting to reduce anxiety. ACT is a form of psychotherapy that is relatively new, but it can be used.
researchACT has been linked to improved mental health, quality of life, and better mental health.
Find out more about the different types of therapy available here.
The most commonly prescribed medication for anxiety disorders is:
Learn more about the various types of medication that can be used to treat anxiety.
There are many stress relaxation techniques that can be used to reduce anxiety.
Researchers aren’t certain of the mechanisms that physical activity can reduce anxiety symptoms. However, they believe that it may be a combination physiological and biological factors.
Learn more about anxiety exercises
Scientists believe that improving gut health can help manage anxiety.
Research has focused on the benefits of adding probiotics to a person’s diet and promoting healthy gut bacteria through high fiber and low saturated fat diets.
Learn more about probiotics and their health benefits here.
Numerous studies have examined the potential for probiotics to restore gut microbiota balance that has been disturbed by anxiety and stress. It is also possible that this may improve anxiety symptoms.
Fermented foods are a natural source for probiotics. There are many types
Learn more about the best Probiotic Foods for a Healthy Diet.
Researchers have also examined how diet can impact a person’s gut microbiota and how this relates to stress and anxiety.
The following foods were identified by researchers as supporting healthy microbiota.
This was in direct contrast to excessive animal protein, saturated fats, or refined or artificial sugars.
The study also suggests that high quality diets such as the Mediterranean diet can reduce depression risk.
The Mediterranean diet is anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a risk factor to anxiety and depression. It is low on saturated fats and high in dietary fibre, which further strengthens its role as a support for healthy microbiota.
Find out more about the Mediterranean diet.
If an individual experiences symptoms of anxiety disorders, they should consult a healthcare or mental professional. They can provide advice and refer people to the right support.
People should also seek medical advice if they have persistent digestive problems. An experienced healthcare team can diagnose any underlying issues, including anxiety disorders, that could be causing the persistent digestive problems.
It may also be worth speaking with a qualified nutritionist about how to improve one’s diet and how to increase the intake of probiotics.
In the United States, anxiety disorders and gut health are two of the most common health concerns. Researchers exploring the link between these conditions have focused on the “gut-brain axis,” a complex system of nerves, hormones, and bacteria that allows these two organs to communicate.
Research has shown stress can change the composition of gut microbiota, a system of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract that plays an important role in people’s health. A person’s gut microbiota is also involved in the development and function of their adaptive stress response.
Adding probiotics to a person’s diet may help regulate their gut microbiota, which may also help improve stress and anxiety symptoms. Healthy eating habits can help to maintain a healthy microbiota and lower the risk of developing depression.
Source: Medical News Today