If your GI tract is out of whack, your mental and physical health will be too. Fatigue and fuzzy thinking, not to mention bloating and irregular bowel movements, are linked to your gut health. If your sick and tired of feeling less than your best it’s time to look at your gut health.
Your GI Tract is Your Second Brain
Scientists consider the GI tract (Gastrointestinal tract) the body’s second brain. It’s vital to your mental and physical health. The microbes in your gut are responsible for more than 80% of your immune system and can help your body fight off foreign invaders such as the cold or flu.
Your GI tract is also a key player in your brain chemistry. It breaks down amino acids in your gut turning them into neurotransmitters in the brain. If this process isn’t running smoothly (literally) your mood and health are compromised.
Is Your Gut Hurting or Helping Your Brain Chemistry?
As you know, amino acids are found in the foods you eat and the supplements you take. When your GI tract is balanced, your mood and energy levels are too. Allergies, stress, and toxins can cause severe damage to the lining of your gut; this disrupts your mood and mental health too. If your feeling down, depressed or drained testing your neurotransmitter levels can help identify if there is an imbalance; in your brain and in your gut.
Your GI tract is responsible for producing important neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA. The bacteria in your gut is in charge of making these inhibitory very important neurotransmitters that regulate your mood. In fact, more than 95 percent of the serotonin in your body made in your gut. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, your gut health is likely to blame.
Is My Gut Imbalanced?
Some of the most common symptoms and side effects of an imbalanced GI tract are:
- Headaches or Migraines
- Eczema or Asthma
- Intense Seasonal Allergies
- Fibromyalgia or Joint Pain
- Chronic fatigue or Fogginess
- Hives or Rashes
- Mood Disorders and Anxiety
- Autoimmune Illnesses
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Type 1 Diabetes
What Can Cause or Contribute to a GI Tract Imbalance?
- Refined carbohydrates, processed or fast foods
- Processed white flour
- Foods high in sugar: The more sugar we eat, the fewer the binding sites available for Vitamin C and therefore a dampened immune response.
- Artificial flavors and dyes (such as Blue #1, Blue #2, Red #3 and Red #40 and Yellow #6)
- Preservatives (BHA, BHT, sodium nitrate/nitrite, sulfur dioxide and potassium bromate) and flavor enhancers (Monosodium glutamate and Disodium Guanylate)
- High-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats)
- Toxins such as processed wheat, soybean and corn oil that can contribute to leaky gut
- Gluten or dairy
- Birth Control
- NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin. NSAIDs can inhibit your body from rebuilding the intestinal lining.
How to Balance Your Gut and Your Mind
There are natural ways to balance your GI tract. The most important thing to do is talk to your practitioner and look at your histamine levels (high histamine indicates a food allergen). This will help to identify if there is a trigger in your diet, and without removing it, all the supplements in the world will not heal your gut. Repairing your gut may take some time, but when you are working with a trained practitioner like those here at Neurogistics, you will have support and accountability along the way. Other ways to repair your GI tract include:
- Taking supplements to support immune and central nervous system such as glutamine that supports immunity and digestion and Omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin D
- Avoiding chemicals, pesticides, and other environmental toxins
- Taking Probiotics such as kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt
- Reducing Stress through these mindfulness exercises
Significant changes in your GI tract and your brain can take just a few weeks to start working. For more information on testing your neurotransmitter levels and balancing your GI tract look into our programs.
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.
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