Is Gut Health Behind Your Depression? Here’s Our Top 4 Wellness Tips

Last modified: August 2, 2019

Richard Honaker M.D.
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Go with your gut when it comes to depression! Here’s our top 3 gut health wellness tips to be the healthiest and happiest version of you possible.

Gut health may turn out to be the reason for your depression or anxiety and ‘gut feeling’ may be more than just intuition. These are mainly because of your small and large intestines together with the trillions of bacteria in there. These bacteria are said to be influencing your mood, your anxiety, your choices, and even your personalities.

These trillions of bacteria are called microbiota. All of these four and a half pounds of bacteria live in your gut. More than 100 trillion microbes live there, just as many cells that make up the rest of your body. And these are the good guys.

They do important work aside from helping digest your food. They also protect you from diseases, neutralize some of the toxic by-products of digestion, and make it harder for bad bacteria to take a hold of your body. Therefore, it is very important to follow wellness tips to keep these hard workers happy.

Is Gut Health Behind Your Depression? Here’s Our Top 4 Wellness Tips

The following are three ways your mcrobiota are linked to your mental health, specifically anxiety and depression, and these also include some gut health wellness tips for everyone.

Your Gut-Mind Connection is a Two-Way Street

It has always been clear that feelings of anxiety makes us queasy and even makes us run to the bathroom. On the other hand, feelings of depression make everything stops in its tracks, which could yield to constipation. Both anxiety and depression affect the gut, and your gut health also affects anxiety and depression.

A recent study from UCLA found that women who ate probiotic fortified yogurt twice a day for four weeks have significantly different brain functioning at rest and in response to a task of emotion recognition. So, this is one of the gut health wellness tips that could be very beneficial in avoiding depression, eat probiotic fortified yogurt.

Related: Coping with Depression for Women: 5 Common Myths


Your Gut Health is Connected with Your Personality

A certain study from McMaster University found that when you swap the gut bacteria of two different personalities, the personalities were also swapped that were apparent through behaviour. The outgoing became shy and the shy became outgoing. This somehow shows that your gut health plays a role in your emotions and maybe even in your behaviors. There are no gut health wellness tips here to avoid depression, just the simple connection.

Related: Mental Health Care for Women: Top 4 Most Common Issues

Your Gut Health is Connected with Your Food Choices

Cravings may actually be caused by your gut bacteria. There’s a theory that when you eat the foods that your microbiota want, they produce small particles that cross the blood brain barrier and get converted into dopamine and serotonin in your brain.

These two impact mood and reinforce those food choices. Gut health may also help control your feelings of satiety. Since your microbiota may partially decide what and how much you eat isn’t it only natural to follow wellness tips to keep them happy? You will reap the rewards anyway.

Related: 7 Ways to Improve Mental Health Just for Women

Is Gut Health Behind Your Depression? Here’s Our Top 4 Wellness Tips

You can’t just change your microbiota mixture inside your gut. Those are what you got from a vaginal delivery, breastfeeding, and the first few years of your life. The microbiota cocktail inside your gut is set by the time you turn three.

What can be changed though are the metabolites of the bacteria. These metabolites are the products that your gut bacteria produced. And to change them, you need to change what you’re feeding them.

Here are four gut health wellness tips to change your metabolites, which may in turn prevent anxiety and depression:

  • Start eating a diet high in plants and low in animal fats. Animal fats are sources of molecules that cause chronic low grade inflammation that raises the risk of cancer and heart disease.
  • Try to avoid eating processed food and food additives like emulsifiers. They disrupt your intestinal lining, while artificial sweeteners alter your metabolism. This is one of the wellness tips that affect your gut directly, which will most likely lead you to succumb into depression.

Is Gut Health Behind Your Depression? Here’s Our Top 4 Wellness Tips

  • Reducing stress can impact both the composition and activity of your gut bacteria. Another one of the wellness tips that affect your gut directly.
  • Eat fermented foods like kimchi, miso, kombucha, kefir, and yogurt to maintain the diversity in your microbiota cocktail. But, if you have a leaky gut, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), or other gut disorders, fermented foods and probiotics can actually amplify problems. Here we see usual wellness tips that do not apply to an already problem ridden gut.

Here’s the ultimate gut health wellness tips, eat healthy to keep your gut bacteria happy, which will in turn make you happy and avoid any physical or mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. So, always eat healthy. Is gut health a priority for you? Talk to a doctor for free about depression and anxiety. Be the happiest and healthiest you can be.

Dr. Sabiha Omar Bio: I was born and raised in Pakistan. I studied in Nishter medical college Multan Pakistan. I trained at University of New Castle UK and obtained MRCPsych. I continued further education at Stanford university CA,USA, did fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry. I am Board certified in general Psychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry.

Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker:

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

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