Category: Mental Health

Is Too Much Screen Time Compromising Gut Health?

We are addicted to our screens. Like most addictions (such as drinking alcohol and binge-eating), excessive screen-time can be harmful to our gut health. Unlike tobacco and cigarettes, too much screen time affects young children and adults alike. These issues can cause a litany of health-related issues.
 
Excessive screen time can ravage the gut biome for several reasons, including being too sedentary, depression, and electromagnetic radiation to our stomach bacteria. The overreliance on digital devices can harm healthy gut bacteria for adults and children alike. Here’s what to do about it!

 

What is Screen Time?

 
screen time smartphone addiction
 
Before figuring out what is too much screen time, let’s get a clear consensus of what we’re talking about here. In this article, the words “screen time” describes how we consume media. We’re describing the act of someone looking at a screen to receive information, entertainment, or to find a hot date.
 

 

So, screen time includes:
• Smartphone
• Computer
• Tablet
• Television
• eBook
• Social Media
• Video Games
 
These sort of gadgets are run on LED lights and are powered by Wi-Fi signals. Sure, these devices are convenient, but they’re turning to be a real inconvenience for our system as a whole.
 
Coopervision funded a poll to determine how much of our day we spend looking at screens. The results are rather astonishing.
 
Pollsters OnePoll reported,
 

“A new survey of 2,000 people into the screen time habits of Americans revealed that whether it’s our phones, laptops, TVs, or tablets, screens are a significant element of everyday life. Assuming the average American gets eight hours of beauty rest a night, that means they spend six hours and 43 minutes a day looking at a screen, or 7,956 days of their life [1].”

OnePoll via Coopervision

Unfortunately, so many of us are regulated to screens all day. Whether we’re students learning on a tablet, office workers at a computer from 9 to 5, or a family watching TV at night, too much screen time seems inevitable! Here are some of the reasons too much screen time might be ruining your gut health.

 

Harmful Effects of Excessive Screen Time for Kids and Adults

 
Harmful Effects of Too Much Screen Time
 
As adults, we like to wave our fingers and say that kids watch too much TV and have an internet addiction. Do as I say, not as I do, adults! 
 
Parents are just as guilty of excess screen time. Young people, college students, adults, and the elderly all watch hours of TV and use their electronic devices throughout the day. Here are some of the reasons too much screen time might be ruining your gut health.

 

Lack of Physical Activity

 
We spent far less time working on our bodies than we do perfecting filters on our Insta pics. Excess screen time perpetuates a sedentary lifestyle. Trust us; sitting around the house is not conducive to a healthy body.
 
Exercise is essential for optimal wellness. Sure, we attribute a buff bod to getting up and moving. However, exercise also has a profound impact on the microbiome.
 
One analysis looking at exercise and the gut biome found,
 

“Exercise can enhance the number of beneficial microbial species, enrich the microflora diversity, and improve the development of commensal bacteria. All these effects are beneficial for the host, improving its health status [2].”


– Oxid Med Cell Longev.

Excessive media use keeps us from meeting our wellness goals. We become glued to our digital screens in hopes of social interactions, searching for educational programming on YouTube, or playing violent video games. Once, entertainment was a commodity. Now, outdoor activities seem like a monumental event.

 

Increased Risk of Obesity

 
While exercise is amazing for us, the majority don’t seem to embrace this activity very much. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in three people is overweight [3].
 

A meta-analysis looked at the long-time relationship between too much screen time and obesity. That’s right; too much screen time isn’t a new problem. It’s one that’s plagued us since televisions became commonplace in the household.
 
This research report stated,
 

“The relationship between screen media exposure and obesity has been widely studied. Starting in the mid-1980s, many epidemiologic studies have revealed associations between screen time and obesity. For example, in 1 longitudinal cohort study of a nationally representative sample of US 10- to 15-year-olds, there was a strong dose-response relationship between the number of hours per day children viewed television and the prevalence of overweight, and as much as 60% of the 4-year incidence of overweight was estimated to be attributable to excess television viewing [4].”

Pediatrics

When people are glued to their screens, they’re sitting on the couch, train, or at their desk. Unless they’re watching TV during cardio, chances are their smart device would be an audio companion instead of a visual one. Being on a screen for over six hours per day means we are most certainly not exercising.
 

Snacking in Front of Screens

 
Next time you’re at a restaurant, take a look around. How many people are on their cell phones at the dinner table? Giving younger children a tablet to shush them or allowing teenagers to use their mobile devices to escape the family conversation is causing slow, subtle damage to their snacking habits. 
 
Too much screen time lends itself to more snacking. For one, we aren’t paying attention to the food we’re eating. So, it’s not triggering to our brain that we’ve eaten. Plus, snacking fills a void while you’re zoning out on the screen.
 
Plus, snacking fills a void while you’re zoning out on the screen. Who else is guilty of just shoving popcorn in their mouths while watching a movie? You just keep shoving in the popcorn by the fistfuls!
 
One analysis was alarmed, stating,
 

“Teens who sit for hours watching TV, using the computer or playing video games while eating unhealthy snacks are at increased risk for a cluster of risk factors including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that elevate the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes [5].”

The Endocrine Society

Naturally, these are all life-threatening situations. Suffice to say; microbes in your gut biome can’t be doing too well in these sorts of conditions, either.
 
All of these conditions are triggered by inflammation. Inflammation destroys healthy cells and beneficial intestinal flora. probiotic bacteria get killed off due to a negative impact of screen time overload.

 

Addictive Tendencies

 
Our screens do a lot of things to us on a psychological level that we may not even be aware of. There are so many layers to how too much screen time affects our mental state.

 

For one, there’s the pressure of always being connected. Social connection is a huge reason why we’re addicted to our electronic devices.
 
Whether it’s old-fashioned Facebook, the 24-hour shelf-life of Snapchat, or six seconds of shenanigans on TikTok, the spotlight is always on. The need and desire to be content creators can have lasting effects on today’s children.
 
CNN recently analyzed a poll conducted by Common Sense Media. Their conclusions showed how deep teenage addiction to smartphones run.
 
Results found,
 

“Nearly 80% of teens in the new survey said they checked their phones hourly, and 72% said they felt the need to immediately respond to texts and social networking messages. Thirty-six percent of parents said they argued with their child daily about device use, and 77% of parents feel their children get distracted by their devices and don’t pay attention when they are together at least a few times per week [6].”

CNN

Too much screen time doesn’t allow us to process our thoughts about real-life events. We get lost in a web of information overload. In turn, it’s causing us to disconnect from one another, reality, and our microbes!

 

What is Addicting Us to Our Devices?

 

Children and adults alike feel dependent on their smartphones for two things:
 
• Keep Them Entertained
• Build Their Brand
 
Both of these have one thing in common. They’re an attempt to improve our social status. Entertainment media stimulates us by helping us take our brains off reality. We use it as a muse for creative ideas, obtaining new information, and finding new fashion. 
 
From there, we use this content to create versions of ourselves we aspire to be. Sometimes we create false personas on the internet. Other times, we use it as a conversation piece. Who else didn’t chat with someone about the color of the dress? We do this to keep ourselves entertained and so that we can discuss relevant topics during social interactions. That’s building your brand 101!
 
Whether you’re a child leading the roast on a group chat or a middle-aged single trying to put your best life out on Insta, we have so much pressure on us. This pressure is from both society and our own expectations. We feel this unnecessary need to flaunt the best parts of our lives at all times, even if we have to fabricate these stories a little.
 

How many of us have posed for a “candid?”
 
Think about it, who hasn’t posed for a “candid” photo where you pretend you didn’t know someone was taking your picture? We’re all guilty of it, just some more than others. At times, our reality is no less scripted than the Kardashians. We just have a smaller budget.
 
The reason we live like this is that each notification, like, or retweet we get sets off neurotransmitters in our brain, most specifically dopamine [7].
 
This hormone provides us with a rewarding feeling. However, too much screen time is doing anything but bringing rewards. We spend so much time trying to recapture that rewarding feeling that we become addicted to our screens.

 

Depression

 
A recent study looked at how social media can cause alterations to our brain pathways. Shockingly, our dependency on this platform is destroying parts of our grey matter.
 
One analysis found,
 

“Our findings lend support to the idea that the composition of key brain regions of the dual-system of reasoning, the amygdala and ACC/MCC (anterior cingulate cortex and midcingulate cortex), but not the NAc (Nucleus Accumbens) , is associated with SNS addiction. We specifically show that the GMV (grey matter values) of the amygdala is negatively associated with SNS addiction scores. Hence, people with high SNS (social network site) addiction scores have a pruned amygdala, which is presumably involved in generating strong impulsive behaviors [8].”

Sci Rep

What is interesting and alarming about these statistics is the interaction between social media and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and midcingulate cortex (MCC). These are the areas of the brain that regulate self-control and impulses. Therefore, social media feed these parts of the brain that crave clicking a red notification on your Facebook globe or a blue bell on your Twitter feed.

 
Scarily enough, social media doesn’t trigger Nucleus Accumbens (NAc). This is a telltale area of the brain that dictates how we process rewards.
 
The NAc of the brain weighs the pros and cons of motivation for addictive behaviors. So, while the NAc may prompt an alcoholic to have a drink, it doesn’t play a role in our social media addictions. That suggests we may be making new alterations to the brain we never have before.
 
That is further evidenced by damage to the amygdala. This part of the brain plays a pivotal role in how we process emotions. Therefore, people addicted to their screens are more likely to act irrationally or depressed.

 

Sleep Deprivation and Wake Cycle Issues

 

50 to 70 million have sleep problems [9]. A big reason for this is due to our dependence on screens. A majority of the screens are made with blue Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights.
 
LED lights mimic the blue light that the sun projects when it rises in the morning. That sunlight has been generating our biological clock (circadian rhythm) since the day we were born. The sun does this through our pineal gland, situated behind our eyes.
 
Two hours before bed, the pineal gland excretes melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep. This process gets prompted by the sun going down. We then enter a dark room and go to sleep. As the sun rises and comes through the window, the pineal gland gets charged through the eyelids. As a result, this gland stops secreting melatonin and slowly brings in hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Now, we’re ready to start our day!
 
Unfortunately, research shows excessive exposure to blue LED lights disrupts our circadian rhythm [10]. Therefore, too much screen time makes us miss out on sleep.
 
When we sleep, that’s when our body makes hormones. After all, its hormones that wake us up in the first place.
 
In addition to hormones, our body makes immune cells. So, when we miss out on sleep from too much screen time, we compromise our immune system as well.

 

Electromagnetic Wave Radiation

 
All of the negative effects of too much screen time may seem obvious. However, there is a silent gut killer lingering in these screens.
 
Our devices are made of electromagnetic waves. Yes, the same things that can also cook our foods in record time. Now, imagine the size of a microbe compared to the size of a leftover lamb chop.

 
Can you imagine just how quickly these waves can zap something so minuscule? Well, it’s happening.

 

Harmful Stomach Bacteria That Like Electromagnetic Waves

 
One study saw that electromagnetic waves increased levels of Escherichia coli (E.coli) in the gut biome [11]. While many of us give E.coli a bad rap, this stomach bacteria is still essential for the digestion of food. It’s when E.coli increases that we have an issue.
 
Not only does too much E.coli cause gastrointestinal distress, but smartphones can enable this overgrowth to happen.
 
Research shows,
 

“The exposure of E coli ATCC 25992 to the magnetic field of 2 mT at the frequency of 50 Hz caused significant alterations in the morphology, growth curves, structural parameters, and the sensitivity to certain antibiotics such as nalidixic acid, amoxicillin, and erythromycin [11].”

Sage Journals

Under magnetic radiation, pathogens can grow larger. Plus, these waves can make them antibiotic-resistant. This combination can be a catastrophe for gut health.

 

Probiotic Gut Bacteria That Don’t Like Electromagnetic Waves

 
Not only do our devices affect E.coli, but they also can have implications for healthy stomach bacteria. However, these interactions are negative. Probiotics don’t seem to enjoy the effects of electromagnetic radiation.
 


 

.

Lactobacillus is a species of stomach bacteria that help fight off allergens, digest food, and repair a leaky gut barrier. Unfortunately, they can’t withstand the power of magnetic waves.
 
One study exposed Lactobacillus Plantarum and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus to radio frequencies of 6.41 GHz, 7.5 GHz, and 7.62 GHz.
 
Results found,
 

“Electromagnetic radiation affects the growth rate of bacteria, produce free radicals due to which the growth decreases and sometime it also inhibit the growth. Cell permeability also affected by the radiation. From the data it can be easily decuced that the cellular membrane of microorganism affects by the electromagnetic radiation [12].

Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research

Upcoming 5G services are going to expand on the already robust LTE spectrum of 6 GHz to 100 GHz. Thankfully, 6 Hz is the norm. However, 5G is about to be 20 times faster.
 
Broadband companies will now manipulate millimeter wavelength bands to reach between a frequency of 30 to 300 GHz [13]. So, who knows what kind of damage will be done over the next decade or two?

 

What is Too Much Screen Time?

 
Before getting overly concerned about too much screen time, let’s figure out what’s constitute as “too much screen time” in the first place. Figuring this number out is hardly objective.

 
A good number of people are in denial about their own screen habits. Meanwhile, others may be overly sensitive to notions that their child is partaking in too much screen time. In their minds, this might be an attack on how they parent. With all these factors at play, it’s hard to pinpoint a clear-cut number as to what is a healthy amount of screen time.
 
For American children, the Mayo Clinic offers some suggestions. That way, you can gauge your child’s habits with their physical and emotional responses.
 
According to the MayoClinic,
 

“The recommendations are really to minimize screen time in children before age 2. Between ages 2 and 5, we would recommend you keep the screen time to one hour or less per day. And in children that are older than 5, we recommend trying to minimize a recreational or enjoyment-related screen time to two hours or less per day. Two hours or less a day applies to teens, as well. But the recommendations do not include educational-related screen time [14].”

Mayo Clinic

While it may seem inevitable for your gut health to be compromised by screen time, don’t feel defeated. Here are some tips to help you reclaim your gut health in this digitized world.

 

How to Cut Excess Screen Time

 
You may seem handcuffed to your device, but you’re not. You can actually live without it. Here are a few tips for disconnecting and for rejuvenating your gut health.
 

Leave the Phone at Home

 
Life existed before smartphones. We promise it will go on without them, too. Reconnect with old school social skills. Say “hi” to strangers. Watch the squirrels chasing each other up trees. Stop looking at your electronic devices!
 
​Next time you step out somewhere familiar, leave your phone at home. That is especially true if someone else has their phone with them. The fewer opportunities you have to pull your phone out, the less likely you will miss your device in the long run.

 

Stop Checking Work Emails

 
We’re at a computer screen all day. Limit your digital media use at home by cutting back on the emails.
 
Part of the problem is that we made ourselves too available. We put this pressure to be on at all times. It’s unrealistic, and you need to set boundaries. 
 
Post work hours and be done. Don’t check your work email at home. Let home time be home time.

 

Don’t Eat and Screen

 
Let’s face it; we’re going to end up in front of a screen. Don’t let that be the time we eat. Set a time to eat away from a screen. That way, your mind can process the fact you ate. You will be less likely to eat empty calories that will ruin the acidity of your gut biome.

 

Microbiome Testing

 
Think your gut bacteria may be prompting you to make impulsive decisions to pick up a screen? Find out for sure. Get an at-home gut test. We can send you everything you need to figure out which stomach bacteria are in your system. Based on the results, we formulate personalized probiotics. With these supplements, your microbiome may find balance, which might help you manage symptoms of device addiction.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] “Americans Spend Nearly Half of Their Waking Hours (42 Percent) Looking at a Screen, It’s Been Revealed by New Research.” CooperVision®, 13 Aug. 2018, coopervision.com/our-company/news-center/press-release/americans-spend-nearly-half-their-waking-hours-42-percent.
 
[2] Monda, V., Villano, I., Messina, A., Valenzano, A., Esposito, T., Moscatelli, F., … Messina, G. (2017). Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2017, 3831972. doi:10.1155/2017/3831972.
 
[3] “Obesity and Overweight.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 16 Feb. 2018, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight.
 
[4] Robinson, T. N., Banda, J. A., Hale, L., Lu, A. S., Fleming-Milici, F., Calvert, S. L., & Wartella, E. (2017). Screen Media Exposure and Obesity in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics, 140(Suppl 2), S97–S101. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1758K.
 
[5] “Screen Time plus Snacking a Risk for Metabolic Disorder in Teens.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 25 Mar. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190325080404.htm.
 
[6] Wallace, Kelly. “50% Of Teens Feel Addicted to Their Phones, Poll Says.” CNN, Cable News Network, 29 July 2016, www.cnn.com/2016/05/03/health/teens-cell-phone-addiction-parents/index.html.
 
[7] Scudamore, Brian. “The Truth About Smartphone Addiction, And How To Beat It.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 Oct. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/brianscudamore/2018/10/30/the-truth-about-smartphone-addiction-and-how-to-beat-it/.
 
[8] He, Q., Turel, O., & Bechara, A. (2017). Brain anatomy alterations associated with Social Networking Site (SNS) addiction. Scientific reports, 7, 45064. doi:10.1038/srep45064.
 
[9] “The State of SleepHealth in America.” SleepHealth, www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/.
 
[10] Tsai JW, Hannibal J, Hagiwara G, Colas D, Ruppert E, Ruby NF, Heller HC, Franken P, Bourgin P. Melanopsin as a sleep modulator: circadian gating of the direct effects of light on sleep and altered sleep homeostasis in Opn4 (−/−. mice. PLoS Biol. 2009;7:e1000125. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=19513122&dopt=Abstract.
 
[11] Taheri, M., et al. “Evaluation of the Effect of Radiofrequency Radiation Emitted From Wi-Fi Router and Mobile Phone Simulator on the Antibacterial Susceptibility of Pathogenic Bacteria Listeria Monocytogenes and Escherichia Coli – M. Taheri, S. M. J. Mortazavi, M. Moradi, S. Mansouri, G. R. Hatam, F. Nouri, 2017.” SAGE Journals, 23 Jan. 2017, journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1559325816688527.
 
[12] Vasistha , Sharsti, and Akshay Garg. “Effect of Electromagnetic Radiation on Lactobacillus Species .” Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, 2016, 8(7):123-126 , journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1559325816688527.
 
[13] Coates, John. “5G Network Uses Nearly Same Frequency as Weaponized Crowd Control Systems.” RF (Radio Frequency) Safe, 8 Oct. 2018, www.rfsafe.com/5g-network-uses-nearly-same-frequency-as-weaponized-crowd-control-systems/.
 
[14] “Mayo Clinic Minute: How Much Screen Time Is Too Much for Kids?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-how-much-screen-time-is-too-much-for-kids/.
 

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Psychobiotics: How to Use Probiotic Supplements to Biohack the Gut-Brain Connection

Psychobiotics are probiotic supplements tailored to improve your mental health. learn which bacterial strains in your gut microbiome might help your emotional states and cognitive function naturally!
 
Nobody blinks twice when we say gut bacteria influence your digestive system. A lot of people can even get on board with your gut microbiota impacting your immune system. Now, research suggests that microorganisms throughout your intestinal tract can have a significant impact on your mental health. With this mounting evidence, many now use the beneficial effects of probiotic bacteria to biohack their mental health and improve their overall mood. The use of gut microbes to positively influence the human brain is known as psychobiotics. Let’s discuss this fringe topic in the study of gut microbiomes and why good bacteria might be the all-natural treatment your nervous system needs!

 

What Are Psychobiotics? 

 

what are psychobiotics?

 
The term psychobiotics is used to describe probiotic supplements that are formulated to improve your brain health. It’s a blanket term that can describe a variety of probiotic formulations. 
 
Research shows that many bacteria strains can influence physiological functions that will modulate psychological outcomes [1]. In essence, different bacteria can be a good neighbor who saves your cat from a house fire or be the aggressive driver who causes an accident that leads to a traffic jam. 
 
Yeah, we want less of that guy. However, even that guy serves a purpose in the grand scheme of life. We just have to make sure we help the growth of more kitty savers.
 
Probiotic supplement companies are now offering these bacteria strains in different blends to support everything from cognitive decline to mood swings to Major Depressive Disorder. 
 
These blends help bridge the gap in bacterial diversity within your gut. In turn, psychobiotics might help with mild-to-moderate symptoms associated with mental illness and stress.

 

Which Bacteria Are in Psychobiotics?

 
Two people can have two completely different psychobiotic probiotic supplements. However, it doesn’t mean they’re both taking the same psychobiotics. This kind of confusion doesn’t happen when you’re buying Vitamin C. You’re just like, “where’s the gummy version?”
 
Buying a psychobiotic supplement means you are purchasing a supplement fortified with probiotics that are scientifically linked to brain health. It’s up to the company to choose the strains, colony-forming units (CFUs), prebiotics, and other minerals. 
 
For the general public, a combination of the usual suspects of gut microbes associated with a healthy brain should suffice. However, more advanced mental health cases, such as schizophrenia, would require a more targeted probiotic approach. 
 
That’s what makes the research of psychobiotics so fascinating. All-natural mental health remedies might become a reality.

 

How Do Psychobiotics Work?

 
It’s been long said that the gut is our “second brain.” In fact, the digestive tract has what is known as the “enteric nervous system.”
 
The enteric nervous system possesses around 500 million neurons that modulate gastric and digestive functions from the esophagus to the colon [2]. 
 
This continuous line of communication is known as the gut-brain-axis. Evidence suggests that positive mental health benefits can occur via the gut-brain-axis and the use of psychobiotics.
 
These positive results are essentially regulated by a series of nerve fibers known as the vagus nerve, also termed the wandering nerve.

 

What is the Vagus Nerve?

 
The vagus nerve hangs down from the brain stem, ending in the gut. These highly sensitive nerve fibers interact with various gut microbes at all times [3]. The vagus nerve reports these interactions back to the central nervous system. 
 
Our vagus nerve follows our entire gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it interacts with every primary organ system along the way. Yet, over 90% of its communications are with gut bacteria [4]. 
 
From the moment we’re born, the vagus nerve is aware of how a healthy gut microbiome feels. That’s why many who aren’t born with a mental illness don’t show depression symptoms at a young age. 
 
Over time, mental disorders develop, coinciding with other factors, such as stress, poor diet, and trauma. These outlying factors cause immune responses on the body that eventually alter gut microbiota composition. 
 
The vagus nerve picks up on these changes, and it’s not a happy camper! So, it relays the message back to the central nervous system.
 
Depending on the bacterial species present in your gut, you may experience various symptoms of psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and gut issues.
 
Research suggests that probiotic treatment of psychobiotics can help stimulate the vagus nerve. In turn, you might feel less mental health-related symptoms originating from a gut bacteria imbalance.

 

How Stomach Bacteria Communicate Through Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis

 

microbiome-gut-brain-axis

 
Our gut microbiome is teeming with trillions of bacteria, fungi, yeast, and viruses. These microbes influence every physiological process that’s responsible for us being human. Of these trillions of microbes, there are hundreds of bacterial species. 
 
In the wild, every animal, plant, and insect plays a role in keeping the earth sustainable. Each species in our gut has a place in our internal ecosystem that helps our circadian rhythm and metabolic pathways running smoothly. 
 
As our gut microbiome becomes compromised by stress, immune responses, poor diet, and other factors, we start to develop different symptoms of any psychiatric illness. When our microbiome is running low on a specific bacterial species, it communicates it to us through the microbiome-gut-brain axis. 
 
You start to consciously feel the changes in your behavior. The reason why is that your body might not have the gut bacteria necessary to create the amino acids we need for neurotransmitters.
 
As more clinical studies on psychobiotics become available, we can hopefully start tailoring specific strains to meet the needs of more serious mental health issues, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, or Bipolar Disorder. 

 

Benefits of Psychobiotics

 

benefits of psychobiotics

 

Using psychobiotics can improve your mental health in a variety of ways. Introducing probiotics into your system is essentially a way for you to communicate with your gut bacteria. You are letting these gut microbes know that you’re aware of the bacterial discrepancy and are experiencing the symptoms they’ve called for you to feel. 
 
With the use of probiotics, you are actively inoculating beneficial bacteria the microbiome needs. This helps take the burden off the probiotic bacteria already holding down the fort. Here are some scientifically-backed benefits of psychobiotics.

 

Improves Depressive Symptoms

 
Did you know that approximately 80% to 90% of your serotonin levels are derived from your gut [5]? The reason why is that your gut bacteria acts as a bouncer to the club. They can lift the velvet rope and decide which amino acids cross the blood brain barrier and get VIP access to the central nervous system. 
 
Recent studies involving Dawley rats found that Bifidobacteria infantis (B. infantis) intervention helped improve symptoms of depression. 

 

Boosts Tryptophan Levels

 
Researchers noted that probiotic intervention caused a significant increase in tryptophan plasma throughout the duration of the intervention period compared to the controls [6]. 
 
Tryptophan interacts with the tryptophan hydroxylase enzyme. Research shows that Vitamin D helps the body create more of this essential enzyme [7]. 
 
Unfortunately, the majority of the world has a Vitamin D deficiency. That’s why we include Vitamin D in our custom probiotic recommendations, available through Thryve Gut Health Program.

 

Boosts Serotonin Levels

 
When tryptophan hydroxylase enzymes interact with tryptophan, it creates 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). 5-HTP then interacts with the aromatic amino acid decarboxylase enzyme to create serotonin [8].
 
Serotonin influences so many vital human functions, including:
Mood
Sexual Appetite
Digestion
Circadian Rhythm
Sleep Patterns
Blood Clotting
Bone Health
 
That’s a lot of responsibility for one neurotransmitter. Naturally, our body gobbles serotonin up, causing people to get prescription medications for serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 
 
More human trials are needed, but hopefully, the use of probiotics might help lessen the dependency on prescription medications over time [9]. You should definitely speak to a doctor before making any significant changes to your health regimen. 

 

Produces Butyrate

 

Probiotic bacteria are the gift that keeps on giving. Part of their job is to help us digest foods. In particular, they break down the dietary fibers we can’t. These foods are known as prebiotics and help probiotic bacteria grow stronger.
 
Like us, probiotics must expel waste. Their trash is our treasure. That’s because probiotics enrich our gut microbiome with short-chain fatty acids. In particular, they produce butyrate. 
 
Butyrate helps repair the epithelial cells that line our gut barrier [10]. That way, potential toxins and pathogens don’t infiltrate the human body and disrupt important biological processes in the brain. However, butyrate does even more to benefit the microbiota-gut-brain axis!
 
A meta-analysis of this short-chain fatty acid found,
 

“Butyrate’s ability to act as a neuroprotective agent together with its effects on memory and cognition is of particular interest given that loss of cognitive abilities is a long-recognized and undertreated feature of recurrent and severe depressive disorders [11].”

British Journal of Pharmacology

 
Butyrate is derived from fat. So, if you suffer from obesity, this short-chain fatty acid can be troublesome. Life is about balance.
 
Other short-chain fatty acids, such as acetate and propionate, have also exhibited anti-depressive properties. Getting a wide range of short-chain fatty acids is dependent on a broad spectrum of intestinal flora. This evidence further proves the importance of bacterial diversity. 

 

Helps with Anxiety Disorders

 
More animal studies confirm that psychobiotics can have a positive impact on emotional states. One study fed genetically-anxious mice strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (L. rhamnosus) [12]. 
 
Results found that the mice who consumed L. rhamnosus were less apprehensive about partaking in a swim test. 
 
This lack of fear led experts to believe that the mice were less anxious. Their deductions were proven correct, as psychobiotics helped in two fashions. 

 

Lowers Cortisol Levels

 

Researchers noted that the mice fed L. rhamnosus had lower cortisol levels when compared to the control. Cortisol is one of the most widely influential stress hormones. It causes a heightened sense of panic and the overwhelming dread associated with anxiety disorders. 
 
For those who endure chronic stress, cortisol levels can skyrocket. In turn, they experience other hormonal imbalances, including sexual dysfunction and infertility. These issues can only further impact behavioral disorders negatively.

 

Boosts GABA Levels

 
Scientists also noted that the mice who consumed this Lactobacillus species also saw a significant increase in gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). 
 
GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps calm excited neurons in the brain. It’s known as our “inhibitory neurotransmitter [13].”
 
Those who experience symptoms of anxiety have overactive communication in the brain. GABA binds to these chatty neurons so that the traffic in your mind slows down. In turn, you’re less susceptible to anxious thoughts and can perform with improved cognitive function. 

 

Neuroprotective Abilities

 
Psychobiotics don’t just help with the long-term damage caused by a life of stress, poor diet, and other trauma. It can also prevent issues, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, from developing down the road. 
 
These beneficial stomach bacteria have been shown to improve immune responses in the system. Therefore, you are less likely to experience chronic inflammation that can destroy healthy brain cells or grey matter.
 
The two most common bacterial strains found in psychobiotics are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. 
 
A meta-analysis of the efficacy of probiotic interventions for mental health found that Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus strains:
 

“Do not possess pro-inflammatory lipopolysaccharide chains, and so their propagation in the gut does not trigger full-fledged immunological reactions. With the presence of such bacteria, the immune system learns to distinguish to between pro- and anti-inflammatory entities and develops appropriate immunogenic responses by identifying pro-inflammatory elements as antigenic [14].”

Trends Nueroscience

 
Their presence helps the immune system make better decisions as to where to foster inflammation. Not only do these bacteria help brain function, but they save skin cells, blood cells, and other healthy bacteria, too!

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevention and Care

 
Human studies have found that children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder tend to lack diversity in the gut microbiome. One meta-analysis looked at Autism Spectrum Disorder and the gut-brain-axis [15].  
 
They found that children with autism tended to have lower levels of the following bacterial species when compared to children who don’t have the condition:
• Veillonellaceae
• Coprococcus
• Prevotella
 
Animal studies involving mice with autism-like behavior also found another strong connection between this condition and the gut-brain-axis, noting:
 

“When mice with an autism-like condition had lower levels of Bifidobacterium and Blautia gut bacteria, their guts made less tryptophan and bile acid — compounds needed to produce serotonin.”

Nature

See, it all connects! Lastly, the meta-analysis looked at a study comparing the guts of germ-free mice (gf mice) with autism to those who had a regular gut microbiome. In comparison, the gf mice with autism had fewer metabolites, such as amino acids 5-aminovaleric acid (5AV) and taurine. 
 
These two amino acids play an essential role in GABA production. Therefore, probiotics help create metabolites that improve mental health.

 

Types of Psychobiotics 

 
Many bacterial strains are associated with positive psychiatric effects. Whether you have social anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or an eating disorder, the use of probiotics might have positive effects on your emotional states and cognitive function. 
 
Our team of scientists at Thryve worked hard to formulate a blend of probiotic bacteria that help support cognitive function, circadian rhythm, and mood. That way, you can wake up feeling refreshed, focused, and full of self-esteem! Let’s discuss the strains in the Thryve Mood Enhancer Specialized Probiotic Supplement.

 

Thryve Mood Enhancer Psychobiotic Supplement

 

Thryve Mood Enhancer psychobiotic supplement gut bacterial strains

 

Thryve Mood Enhancer is optimized with a proprietary probiotic blend of Lactobacillus plantarum PS128™ and Lactobacillus paracasei PS23™. They are combined with other bacteria that are beneficial to the human gut and mind. Let’s discuss these strains and the clinical studies that prove their efficacy in mental health care.

 

Lactobacillus Species 

 
Thryve Mood Enhancer contains six bacterial strains classified as Lactobacillus families. Each plays a role in physiological functions associated with mental and cognitive health. Let’s take a closer look at each strain. 

 

Lactobacillus plantarum PS128

 
A clinical study in 2019 concluded Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 improved hyperactivity, anxiousness, and impulsive behaviors of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder [16]. The study noted previous animal studies where this bacterial strain increased corticosterone (cortisol) levels in mice. 
 
Furthermore, mice had increased levels of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for memory and learning new concepts. 
 
These findings corroborated a 2016 clinical study where gf mice saw an increase in dopamine and serotonin after probiotic intervention with Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 [17]. 

 

Lactobacillus plantarum PS123
 

In a 2019 clinical study, L. paracasei PS23 improved depression-like and anxiety-like behaviors via reversing “corticosterone-reduced dopamine levels and serotonin levels” in the hippocampus, striatum, and prefrontal cortex [18].
 
The hippocampus plays a significant role in long-term memory storage. Our striatum is responsible for decision-making skills and analyzing risk-reward. That’s why dopamine is so essential for this part of the brain. Lastly, the prefrontal cortex is in charge of cognitive processes and working memory.

 

Lactobacillus plantarum 14D

 
A 2018 clinical study concluded Lactobacillus plantarum exerts beneficial effects on the gut-heart-brain axis, contributing to brain health and improving psychological disorders [19]. 
 
Another meta-analysis of the gut-brain-heart-axis explained that gut microbiota could influence the vagus nerve to cause the brain to produce neuropeptides. [20].
 
These are tiny polymers that act as neurotransmitters. They can influence “neuro-enteric plexus, POMC, circadian clock and amygdala.” 
 
Depending on the foods, such as too much red meat, these neuropeptides can trigger heart disease. That’s why it’s vital to maintain microbial balance with Thryve Mood Enhancer.

 

Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus LB2
 

Research indicates that Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus LB2 is effective in thwarting off the overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), inhibiting the growth of 53.3% H. pylori strains [21].
 
H. pylori infections can cause severe depression. One meta-analysis found women over 50 were susceptible to feeling depressive symptoms due to increased risk of H. pylori infection. [22].

 

Lactobacillus acidophilus
 

In a 2019 clinical study, Lactobacillus acidophilus provided neuroprotective effects of mice. The results noted that probiotic intervention curbed pro-inflammatory biomarkers TNF-α and IL1-β from destroying cells in the perilesional cortex [23].
 
Additionally, the mice’s intestinal barrier permeability improved. Intestinal permeability is another way to say Leaky Gut Syndrome. This realization lends even more credence to the gut-brain-axis. 

 

Lactobacillus paracasei 101/37
 
A clinical trial about anxiety and probiotic intervention with Lactobacillus paracasei 101/37 found that this strain might help manage stress and anxiety [24]. 
 
These gut microbes influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is responsible for our adrenal glands producing cortisol. 

 

Bifidobacterium Species 

 
Bifidobacterium has become increasingly linked to improved emotional states. Let’s take a look at the strains we chose to include the Thryve Mood Enhancer psychobiotic supplement. 

 

Bifidobacterium breve Bbr8

 
A 2019 clinical study found that a probiotic blend containing Bifidobacterium breve Bbr8 can significantly improve symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) [25]. 
 
Another study looked at how IBS-C and IBS-D affect the mental health of those who have these diagnoses [26]. Results found that regardless of which type of IBS they have, those diagnosed with IBS are more likely to develop anxiety and depression. 

 

Bifidobacterium breve BL10

 
A 2018 study looked at mice who were fed a high-fat diet, much like those who follow a Western Diet [27]. These mice developed obesity. 
 
They were treated with a probiotic blend that contained Bifidobacterium breve BL10 and Bifidobacterium breve Bbr8, both found in Thryve Mood Enhancer.
 
Results found that these gut microbes regulated leptin levels. Leptin tells your brain that you have enough energy stored in the fat so that you stop eating [28]. That’s good for people with obesity who have mental health issues. 
 
After all, one study found a bidirectional link between obesity and Major Depressive Disorder. Those who are obese are 55% more likely to develop depression, and people who experience depression are 58% more likely to develop obesity [29].

 

Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis Bi1

 
This probiotic strain is a potent neuroprotectant. A meta-analysis of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis Bi1 found that this bacteria strain stops toxins from penetrating the blood brain barrier. These gut microbes stopped 99% of aflatoxins and genes that might cause damage to brain tissue [30]. 

 

Streptococcus thermophilus Z57 

 
Last is certainly not least here. Streptococcus thermophilus Z57 rounds out the Thryve Mood Enhancer psychobiotic supplement. 
 
A 2019 study on mice with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) found,
 

Streptococcus thermophilus induced a significant increase in the expression of anti-inflammatory IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 cytokines, and decreased the secretion of pro-inflammatory IL-1β and IFN-γ [31].”  

Brain Sciences

 
These benefits are not just great for autoimmunity; they’re excellent for preventative brain health. Less inflammation in the system will improve sleep patterns, circadian rhythm, focus, and mood. 

 

The Future of Psychobiotics

 
Psychobiotics are a relatively new supplement product market. More human trials are needed…and coming. The future of psychobiotics is very exciting. That’s why we are happy to use the science that’s already out there to create a targeted psychobiotic blend with Thryve Mood Enhancer.
 
With time, we hope that psychobiotics can offer a tailored approach to mental health care. Perhaps people can eventually use a live organism to manage their depressive systems rather than prescription medications with horrible side effects. 
 
However, that’s down the line. Please talk to your doctor before making any significant changes to your health routine.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Leigh K. Smith, Emily F. Wissel. “Microbes and the Mind: How Bacteria Shape Affect, Neurological Processes, Cognition, Social Relationships, Development, and Pathology – Leigh K. Smith, Emily F. Wissel, 2019.” SAGE Journals, 28 Mar. 2019, journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1745691618809379.
 
[2] Furness, J. B., & Poole, D. P. (2012). Nonruminant Nutrition Symposium: Involvement of gut neural and endocrine systems in pathological disorders of the digestive tract. Journal of animal science, 90(4), 1203–1212. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2011-4825.
 
[3] Breit, S., Kupferberg, A., Rogler, G., & Hasler, G. (2018). Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain-Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 44. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00044.
 
[4] Breit, Sigrid, et al. “Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain–Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 1 Feb. 2018, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00044/full.
 
[5] “Study Shows How Serotonin and a Popular Anti-Depressant Affect the Gut’s Microbiota.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 6 Sept. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190906092809.htm.
 
[6] Desbonnet, Lieve, et al. “The Probiotic Bifidobacteria Infantis: An Assessment of Potential Antidepressant Properties in the Rat.” Journal of Psychiatric Research, Pergamon, 5 May 2008, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022395608000745?via=ihub.
 
[7] “Causal Link Found between Vitamin D, Serotonin Synthesis and Autism in New Study.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 26 Feb. 2014, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226110836.htm.
 
[8] Richard, D. M., Dawes, M. A., Mathias, C. W., Acheson, A., Hill-Kapturczak, N., & Dougherty, D. M. (2009). L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications. International journal of tryptophan research : IJTR, 2, 45–60. https://doi.org/10.4137/ijtr.s2129.
 
[9] Wallace, C., & Milev, R. (2017). The effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans: a systematic review. Annals of general psychiatry, 16, 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12991-017-0138-2.
 
[10] Liu, H., Wang, J., He, T., Becker, S., Zhang, G., Li, D., & Ma, X. (2018). Butyrate: A Double-Edged Sword for Health?. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 9(1), 21–29. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmx009.
 
[11] Bambury, Aisling, et al. “BPS Publications.” British Pharmacological Society | Journals, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 18 Jan. 2018, bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bph.14127.
 
[12] Jones, Nicola. “Friendly Bacteria Cheer up Anxious Mice.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 30 Aug. 2011, www.nature.com/articles/news.2011.510.
 
[13] Bhat, Roopa, et al. “Inhibitory Role for GABA in Autoimmune Inflammation.” PNAS, National Academy of Sciences, 9 Feb. 2010, www.pnas.org/content/107/6/2580.
 
[14] Sarkar, A., Lehto, S. M., Harty, S., Dinan, T. G., Cryan, J. F., & Burnet, P. (2016). Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria-Gut-Brain Signals. Trends in neurosciences, 39(11), 763–781. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2016.09.002.
 
[15] Svoboda, Elizabeth. “Could the Gut Microbiome Be Linked to Autism?” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 29 Jan. 2020, www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00198-y.
 
[16] Liu, Y. W., Liong, M. T., Chung, Y. E., Huang, H. Y., Peng, W. S., Cheng, Y. F., Lin, Y. S., Wu, Y. Y., & Tsai, Y. C. (2019). Effects of Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Taiwan: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 11(4), 820. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040820.
 
[17] Liu, W. H., Chuang, H. L., Huang, Y. T., Wu, C. C., Chou, G. T., Wang, S., & Tsai, Y. C. (2016). Alteration of behavior and monoamine levels attributable to Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 in germ-free mice. Behavioural brain research, 298(Pt B), 202–209. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2015.10.046.
 
[18] Wei, C. L., Wang, S., Yen, J. T., Cheng, Y. F., Liao, C. L., Hsu, C. C., Wu, C. C., & Tsai, Y. C. (2019). Antidepressant-like activities of live and heat-killed Lactobacillus paracasei PS23 in chronic corticosterone-treated mice and possible mechanisms. Brain research, 1711, 202–213. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2019.01.025.
 
[19] Liu, Y. W., Liong, M. T., & Tsai, Y. C. (2018). New perspectives of Lactobacillus plantarum as a probiotic: The gut-heart-brain axis. Journal of microbiology (Seoul, Korea), 56(9), 601–613. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12275-018-8079-2.
 
[20] Singh, Ram B., et al. “The Gut-Brain-Axis and the Heart.” MOJ Public Health, MedCrave Publishing, 14 June 2018, medcraveonline.com/MOJPH/the-gut-brain-axis-and-the-heart.html.
 
[21] Boyanova, L., Stephanova-Kondratenko, M., & Mitov, I. (2009). Anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus strains: preliminary report. Letters in applied microbiology, 48(5), 579–584. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1472-765X.2009.02571.x.
 
[22] Al Quraan, A. M., Beriwal, N., Sangay, P., & Namgyal, T. (2019). The Psychotic Impact of Helicobacter pylori Gastritis and Functional Dyspepsia on Depression: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 11(10), e5956. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.5956.
 
[23] Ma, Y., Liu, T., Fu, J., Fu, S., Hu, C., Sun, B., Fan, X., & Zhu, J. (2019). Lactobacillus acidophilus Exerts Neuroprotective Effects in Mice with Traumatic Brain Injury. The Journal of nutrition, 149(9), 1543–1552. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz105.
 
[24] Hellhammer, Juliane. “Stress & Anxiety Dampening Effects of a Probiotic Supplement Compared to Placebo in Healthy Subjects – Full Text View.” Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov, 7 Nov. 2018, clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03494725.
 
[25] Francavilla, R., Piccolo, M., Francavilla, A., Polimeno, L., Semeraro, F., Cristofori, F., Castellaneta, S., Barone, M., Indrio, F., Gobbetti, M., & De Angelis, M. (2019). Clinical and Microbiological Effect of a Multispecies Probiotic Supplementation in Celiac Patients With Persistent IBS-type Symptoms: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-controlled, Multicenter Trial. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 53(3), e117–e125. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0000000000001023.
 
[26] Lee, Changhyun, et al. “The Increased Level of Depression and Anxiety in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients Compared with Healthy Controls: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Korean Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 1 July 2017, www.jnmjournal.org/journal/view.html?doi=10.5056%2Fjnm16220.
 
[27] Roselli, Marianna, et al. “Beneficial Effects of a Selected Probiotic Mixture Administered to High Fat-Fed Mice before and after the Development of Obesity.” Journal of Functional Foods, Elsevier, 21 Apr. 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464618301257.
 
[28] Society for Endocrinology. “Leptin.” You and Your Hormones, Mar. 2018, www.yourhormones.info/hormones/leptin/.
 
[29] Floriana S. Luppino, MD. “Overweight, Obesity, and Depression.” Archives of General Psychiatry, American Medical Association, 1 Mar. 2010, jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210608.
 
[30] Ghazvini, R. D., Kouhsari, E., Zibafar, E., Hashemi, S. J., Amini, A., & Niknejad, F. (2016). Antifungal Activity and Aflatoxin Degradation of Bifidobacterium Bifidum and Lactobacillus Fermentum Against Toxigenic Aspergillus Parasiticus. The open microbiology journal, 10, 197–201. https://doi.org/10.2174/1874285801610010197.
 
[31] Dargahi, Narges, et al. “Streptococcus Thermophilus ST285 Alters Pro-Inflammatory to Anti-Inflammatory Cytokine Secretion against Multiple Sclerosis Peptide in Mice.” MDPI, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 23 Feb. 2020, www.mdpi.com/2076-3425/10/2/126/htm.
 

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8 Ways To Boost Your Mental Health with Creative Writing

Creative writing is the ultimate free way to boost your mental health naturally. It provides a creative outlet and offers you insights into your emotions. Here are tips to start creative writing.
 
Everyone’s responsible for their own well-being. Everything we decide, do, eat, say, or think influences the quality of our life. These form our “diet, and that’s why it’s imperative to take equal care of your physical and mental health. We’re all quick to work out our abs but not our minds. One of the best ways to boost your mental health is to work out your brain through creative writing.

 

How Creative Writing Can Boost Your Mental Health 

 
There are many different strategies for improving your mental health. One of the most effective options is creative writing.
 

women creative writing to boost your mental health

Creative writing allows you to access subconscious realizations about yourself. You can come to conclusions you didn’t know existed. That way, you can work on bettering yourself as a person.
 
This outlet can also help you explore your creativity. Create your own escape from reality without being sucked into more screen time.
 
Creative writing can also be cathartic. It’s a way to get all of your emotions out in the open. That way, you can let it go.
 
When you boost your mental health, it creates less stress. Stress can trigger inflammation.
One analysis on stress and inflammation stated,
 

“Evidence suggests that acute and chronic stress is associated with increased inflammatory activity and enhanced attentional processing of negative information. Both are predictive of negative mood and depression symptoms that, in turn, increase inflammatory and cognitive stress reactivity [1].”

Front Neurosci.

Over the long term, chronic stress destroys healthy gut bacteria. That’s why tending to your mental health is essential for improving your gut health.

 

Tips to Boost Your Mental Health Through Creative Writing

 
Now that you know why creative writing can boost your mental health, let’s get down to the how. Here are eight ways you can achieve a better headspace while creating some captivating content!

 

Find Your Writing Spot

 
When it comes to exercising creative writing for improving your mental health, establishing a routine is a good thing. There’ll be times when you’ll feel like you don’t want to write and simply want to give up on the process. This scenario is precisely why you need to create or find your writing spot.
 
Having a ready-to-go writing spot will make it so much easier to sit down and start your writing. There’ll be no barriers or distractions.
 
You can choose to create a writing spot in your home:
• a simple set-up
• a desk
• a comfortable chair
• decorative details you like
 
You can add a plant, a lamp, or some inspiring quotes to the area. These will help set the mood for your writing session.
 

writing outside to boost your mental health

 

Naturally, you can choose some spot outside of your home, such as:
• a bench in the park
• a spot by the river
• a quiet coffee shop
 
Choose whatever works best for you. However, you’ll never know just when creativity will strike. So, make sure that your sanctuary is within a short distance!

 

Commit to Writing

 
When you’re struggling with mental health issues, you never know how the next day will look. You can’t be sure what to expect, or how you’re going to feel. Even in your worst days, you must commit to creative writing.
 
Commit to yourself by doing some of the following things:
• promise you’ll show up every day
• set minimum daily writing goals
• include one more person you trust in the process
 
Tell yourself you’ll do the writing even if you don’t feel like doing it. Consistency is key, even if you only write several lines.
 
Also, consider confiding in a close friend or someone from your family. Give them a chance to read what you’ve written each day and perhaps even discuss it with you. 
These interactions will boost the feeling of commitment. Plus, talking to loved ones naturally boosts your mental health. 

 

Write Freely

 
If you’re reading this and thinking something like “What would I even write?”, take a step back. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as it’s honest and unfiltered.
 

writing to boost your mental health

 
That means that while you’re doing your daily writing, you should:
avoid overthinking
• write freely
• avoid looking back at previous lines
 
Just sit down and go with your gut. Thryve user, Garrott, uses probiotics to help spark their creativity.
 
As Garrott explained,
 

“I believe in what Thryve is doing because, for the last year, I’ve been taking an essential oil vitamin pack as well as probiotics that have vastly increased my energy levels, concentration, and optimism as well as boosted my immune system. The results have directly improved my creativity and productivity [2].”

Garrott Designs

Don’t filter your thoughts, and don’t pause to think whether or not you should really write something down.
 
Instead, remind yourself that you have the liberty to write whatever comes to your mind and practice writing from your heart.

 

Focus on Your Emotions

 
Creative writing is a great way to improve your mental health because it will help you express all those emotions you may have suppressed deep within you. Instead of suppressing, you should focus on processing what you feel.

child writing

It’s never too late to start!

 
That’s why you should focus your creative writing on:
• your feelings
• what caused those feelings
• people who influence how you feel
• the positive and negative things that have happened

 
Be open about the way you feel and track down the reason why you feel that way. Use creative writing to process everything that’s happening to you.
 
It will be like opening up to your best friend who you absolutely trust. You’ll feel relieved and less stressed out.

 

Stop Being Judgmental

 
At any given moment in your life, you are your own biggest supporter. If you fail to love and support yourself, everything else won’t even matter.
 
Therefore, start working on losing those judgmental thoughts and apply them to your writing.
 
That includes the following:
• don’t edit your work
• perform positive self-talk while you’re writing
• don’t grade your writing sessions
• be kind to yourself
 
Focus on the process and not the result. If you showed up and written any lines, you’ve accomplished your goal for the day.
 
Being less judgmental and more self-appreciating is something that takes time and practice. Luckily, you can start practicing it in your creative writing sessions. 
 

Take Baby Steps

 
Boosting your mental health is worth every praise. Just the fact you decided to take things into your own hands says a lot about you. That’s why you need to start showing more self-love and appreciation.
 
That means:
• awarding yourself with a theatre ticket or your favorite chocolate bar
• acknowledging your effort
• praising your determination

 

Positive self-talk and self-encouragement are crucial for this entire process. Pat yourself on the back whenever you take a step towards improving your mental health.
 

Learn About Yourself

 
creative writing to boost your mental health
Creative writing is not only meant to reduce your daily stress or help you figure out why you’re feeling the way you are in a certain moment. It actually has a wider, deeper purpose.
 
By committing to your creative writing tasks every day, you’ll keep track of your daily struggles and be able to look back at it after a specific time.
 
This practice will help you:
• find your patterns of behavior
• learn what triggers certain emotions
• realize why you’re responding to things a certain way
 
You’ll be able to learn from your previous experiences and focus on finding the right way to overcome potential obstacles and issues. 
 
If you ever decide to share your experience with creative writing with others, check out the best paper writing site for helping writing a blog post or social media post. Learning about your mental health is crucial for your progress, and that’s exactly what creative writing will allow you to do.

 

Boost Your Mental Health Today

 

What are you waiting for you? Be proactive with your mental health and start working on the mental and physical. Don’t delay and get writing today.
 
In the meantime, opt for a gut test. Figure out which bacteria are negatively influencing your gut-brain-axis. These microbes might be behind some of your anxiety.
 
Hey, you can even write a review of our program as part of your creative writing. This practice will help you get even more of your insights. Plus, we’ll share your work with the world!

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Maydych V. (2019). The Interplay Between Stress, Inflammation, and Emotional Attention: Relevance for Depression. Frontiers in neuroscience, 13, 384. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.00384.
 
[2] Johnson, Garrott. “Thryve in the Creative Lifestyle- Go with Your Gut.” Garrott Designs, 14 Mar. 2018, www.garrottdesigns.com/2018/03/14/thryve-creative-lifestyle-gut-health-probiotics-gut-health-probiotic-microbiome/.

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Working From Home Woes: Maintaining Your Mental Health During Stay-At-Home

Working from home can be a difficult transition for people. It may cause procrastination, poor diet habits, or depression. Here are some tips for separating work from home during shelter in place.
 
Over the past years, the popularity of remote work has increased. It occupies a leading position in the ranking of desired work among the employees. A top social media marketing company, Buffer, took a survey that found 99% of people wanted to try working from home at least part-time in 2019 [1]. This demand has only risen during the pandemic.
 
Unfortunately, in connection with such circumstances, working from home results in a lack of communication. As a result, they are concerned about depression, as well as other psychological problems. We want to provide you with information to help maintain your psychological state in a healthy condition during remote work at home [2].

 

Working From Home Mental Health Tips

 
Home used to be our sanctuary away from work. Now, working from home has blurred the lines, almost annihilating work-life-balance. The claustrophobic-like grip work can have on you has now entered your sanctuary. Here are some tips for your mental health as we all adjust to a life of working from home.

 

Take Breaks From Work and Technology

 
Try to change your environment. When you want to have a cup of coffee or eat some dinner, don’t do it at the same spot where you work. Also, don’t rely on your phone and laptop while you take these breaks. Use these moments to take your mind off anything associated with your job and reboot your brain.
 
Consider adopting the Pomodoro Technique,
 

“The Pomodoro Technique calls for work sessions of 25 minutes followed by a five-minute break, with a 15-minute break at least once every two hours [3]. 

Inc.com

Also, do not forget that when your working day comes to an end, you should leave everything as it is and change your occupation. In your free time, spend your leisure socializing with people.

 

Schedule Your Free Time

 
Most likely, sitting in the same room will be detrimental to your physical health. Therefore, plan your schedule. Make the best use of your time.

working from home

 
Plan when you:
• Go for a Walk
• Grocery Shop
• Pick Up Household Goods
• Do Laundry
• Prep Dinner
Do Yoga
 
Knowing what to expect allows for less stress. You can make sure there is enough time to get things done and leave little room for procrastination.
 
Also, if you’re running low on time, don’t cut out the cardio. It has been proven that strengthening one’s physical health is directly related to the psychological state [4]. So, make sure you you pencil in some much-needed exercise time.

 

Positive Thinking

 
working from home

Working from home is an excellent opportunity that employees often dream of while spending their time in the company’s office. Would it be better if you were sitting in the office now, or is it much better to stay at home and do your business here?
 
“There’s a basic law that says: similar things attract each other. Negative thinking attracts negative results. Conversely, if a person thinks with optimism and hope, one’s positive thinking creates a movement of creative force and success flow towards him.” – says Ben Grant, a writer at Adsy.com.

 

Stay In Touch With Loved Ones

 
working from home
Remember that you should stay at home and keep in touch with your loved ones and friends. You can’t have your only social interactions be with coworkers discussing the job over Zoom. Maintaining a healthy relationship with people you trust is important to your mental health.
 
Have a House Party happy hour with friends. FaceTime your parents. Email your aunt and uncle you haven’t talked to in six months. Text your old college roommate. Create connections!

 

Meditation

meditate to boost your immune system

Speaking of connections, connect with yourself. Work causes us our heads to spin. Now, we’re dirtying up our home with that negative energy. Cleanse the area by cleansing your mind through meditation.
 
Just as you shouldn’t eat where you work, don’t meditate there. Get away from the area with a clearer perspective. Not only will you will feel mentally rejuvenated, but you’ll probably come up with more creative solutions to work-related problems.

 

Find a Hobby

 

Do more of what you love. Think of a forgotten musical instrument, drawing, or any other favorite thing and give it at least the tiniest part of your free time.
 
Hone our hobby. There are many free tutorials and courses on the Internet. People often come up with inventive ways to do something, such as arranging online pub quizzes and music concerts.

 

Proper Nutrition

 

gut health diet

 
Nutrition is an important component of physical health. It is not enough just to make a sandwich, drink tea, or eat fast carbohydrates all the time. You must find an adequate balance of high-quality protein, complex carbohydrates, and fatty acids.
 
Whenever we experience nutrient deficiency or an excess of inflammatory foods, it causes stress on the system. This manifests as stress on our gut and mind. In turn, we’ll perceive everyday tasks, such as work, more strenuous.

 

Good Gut Health

 
working from home

 

Working from home is like a free ticket to sit around in your own funk. You become even more sedentary because you’re in comfy clothes and eating loads of cereal. All of these decisions may compromise your gut health.
 
Your gut and mind are connected via the gut-brain-axis. When we have poor gut health, opportunistic bacteria will take over. In turn, they will disrupt the microbiome, ultimately, disrupting your mind set.
 
Consider getting your gut tested to determine which stomach bacteria are taking over your system. From there, use a custom probiotic from Thryve to bring balance back to your gut biome.

 

Maintaining Mental Health While Working From Home

 
working from home
We are in this together.

Do not forget that remote work has both advantages and disadvantages. Both of these pros and cons may affect your psychological state. Keep these tips in mind. Remember to focus on changing your emotional state by getting your gut health intact. Working from home is the only way millions of us can make a living. Don’t let it be at the detriment of your emotional and physical health.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] “State of Remote Work 2019.” Buffer, 18 May 2020, buffer.com/state-of-remote-work-2019.
 
[2] “How to Look after Your Mental Health.” Mental Health Foundation, 30 Apr. 2020, www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-mental-health.
 
[3] Zetlin, Minda. “For the Most Productive Workday, Science Says Make Sure to Do This.” Inc.com, Inc., 21 Mar. 2019, www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/productivity-workday-52-minutes-work-17-minutes-break-travis-bradberry-pomodoro-technique.html.
 
[4] Weber, Lauren. “Healthier Workers Are More Productive, Study Finds.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 8 Aug. 2017, www.wsj.com/articles/healthy-workers-are-more-productive-study-finds-1502219651.
 

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Well-Being During Social Distancing: How to Boost Your Spirits During COVID-19

Social distancing is essential to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, humans are naturally social beings. Here are mental health tips for the era of social distancing.
 
The coronavirus crisis and the measures that followed from it reminded all of us that wellness and health are our biggest priorities. It has allowed us the time necessary to unplug from the daily grind and put what’s important into perspective. As therapeutic that might be, there are still the looming stressors like bills, bored children, and work! Plus, social distancing is a stressor in itself because human beings need social connections in order to feel happy and healthy [1]. So, here are some tips to support your well-being in the era of social distancing.

 

Social Distancing and Well-Being Tips

 
To compensate for a lack of socialization, you should turn to other feel-good activities in your home that will help you cope better. By improving your physical and mental state, you will come out of this crisis even healthier. It’s time to find whatever positives we can in such a negative situation. Here are just some of the things that you can do to improve your well-being during social distancing.

 

Stay In Touch With Your Social Circle

 
Social distancing means you won’t have the chance to hang out with your friends and family in person, but that’s definitely not a reason to lose contact altogether. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, our friends are just a couple of clicks away, no matter where they might be. Use tools or services such as Zoom, Skype, or House party to keep the hangouts going even in times of social distancing!

 

You can also look at this from a positive perspective in that you now have time to reconnect with some of the friends or colleagues you lost touch with [2]. Check in with some of your old friends from high school or your hometown and enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane!

 

Exercise

 
Even though it might seem like a cliché, working out really is the best recipe for well-being, even (and especially if) you’re stuck at home [3]. Next to the obvious physical benefits, exercise also provides you with benefits for your mental health. In this sense, exercise really is an all-around solution for building wellness of the body, mind, and spirit.
 
Here are just some of the benefits you can gain from exercising regularly:
social distancing exercise
• Decreased Feelings of Depression, Anxiety and Stress
• Boost in Self-Esteem
• Improved Sleep Patterns
• Sharper Focus and Memory
• More Energy, Fewer Energy Crashes
• Higher Thresholds of Resilience (Mentally and Physically)

 

Meditation

 
Just like exercise, regular meditation practice has scientifically-proven benefits for the body and mind.
 
Even short periods of focused meditation drastically reduces stress levels over time, promotes better breathing habits, and prevents over-thinking or negative self-talk [4].
 
If you have never practiced meditation, sitting alone with your thoughts might seem weird…even scary!
 
So, if you’re a total beginner, the best way to start is with guided meditation, where you will focus on someone’s voice and words rather than your own thoughts.
 
A great option during social distancing times is also gratitude meditation. During these difficult times, we often focus on everything that we’re missing or lacking and often forget about the millions of little things that we are grateful for.

 

Go Outside

 
Before the pandemic, over one billion people suffered from a Vitamin D deficiency [5]. This essential vitamin is a catalyst for many health functions, including your GI system. That’s why Vitamin D deficiency and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) go hand-in-hand.
 
social distancing rules

 

A meta-analysis about the importance of Vitamin D explained,
 

“Vitamin D3 deficiency can result in obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis and neuro-degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease.” 

Int J Health Sci (Qassim)
Since our body doesn’t synthesize Vitamin D, we must get it from the sun. If you’re working from home, take the laptop to the patio. Instead of watching Netflix, go for a walk with your dog in the woods. Put your feet in the grass and get gardening. All of these will improve your mental and physical health.

 

Delegate Your Tasks

 
At times like these, it’s tempting to throw yourself into work in order to distract yourself from the uncertainties of these times. For many people, social distancing and quarantine have imposed pressure on a need for higher productivity. The majority of people who are in the digital industries believe that now is the perfect time to grow their business, while others try hard just to keep it afloat. Tasks that have been waiting to get done for years have finally come on the agenda.
 
While this may feel good and normal in the beginning, in the long run, you’ll just be adding another layer of stress and pressure to your psyche. If you have taken on, like many other people, extra tasks or projects during social distancing, you probably already feel the additional burden.
 
To relieve this stress (and have more time for self-care), you can delegate some of your work tasks to experts.
 
Consider using tools, such as:
 
BestEssayEducation (college essays or reports)
GrabMyEssay (professional writing, researching, and reporting)
Fiverr (delegate your tasks to freelancers around the world)
 
These websites employ gig workers. They have specialists who get paid per job. So, you can find someone with extensive knowledge in your niche to help your business grow.

 

Getting Writing

 
covid-19 social distancing
In times of uncertainty, instability, and stress, it’s tough to pinpoint exactly what we’re feeling. Usually, that’s because we’re feeling dozens of different things at the same time, and sorting through that whirlwind of emotions can be awfully confusing. Journaling about your day or about what you’re feeling can help you with that process. When you take enough time to unwind, sit down, and do a slow-motion process of thinking, you’ll see that your life is much more organized and stable than you think.
 
Writing about things other than your emotions can also have a therapeutic effect. You’ll be able to shut out the thoughts that are bothering you throughout the day and take a mind-journey into another realm. You can benefit from writing not only fiction but guidebooks or texts about something that you know. You don’t need to have publishing in mind per se, but focusing on what you know and do well will do wonders for your self-confidence and sense of motivation.

 

Eat Clean

eating healthier
Even though it might seem nice to turn to carbs and sweets at this point, it’s definitely not something that professionals would recommend for the long run.
 
Eating clean will, on the other hand, give you loads of health benefits in the long term.   
 
So, during social distancing, try to eat healthier and build healthy eating habits. If you haven’t eaten healthy before, now is the perfect time to start doing so, because you’ll have more time for cooking and less eating out.
 
For those of you who need some recipes, we’ve got you covered! Browse some gut healthy recipes in your dashboard in the Thryve Gut Health Program.

 

How To Improve Well-Being During Social Distancing

 
There are loads of activities you can focus on when you’re aiming to improve your well-being during social distancing. Spending quality time with family and friends is wonderful, but you shouldn’t focus on the fact that it’s not possible right now. Rather, dedicate this time to exploring some of your other interests and hobbies. And remember, take it easy on yourself! This is not the time when you need to be extra-productive or hit every goal. Learn how to relax and accept the new reality.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Umberson, D., & Montez, J. K. (2010). Social relationships and health: a flashpoint for health policy. Journal of health and social behavior, 51 Suppl(Suppl), S54–S66. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022146510383501.
 
[2] “Is Now the Time to Reconnect with an Old Friend?” UnityPoint Health, 20 Dec. 2018, www.unitypoint.org/article.aspx?id=48aec54c-94e1-4f90-9164-eb2e6ee337e0.
 
[3] “The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise.” HelpGuide.org, 29 Apr. 2020, www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm.
 
[4] Mayo Clinic Staff. “A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Apr. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858.
 

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10 Stress Buster Tips When Working Remotely

It’s safe to say that stress has become an indispensable part of the daily life of a modern human. What’s more interesting, it’s usually caused, deepened or prolonged by such work-related issues as huge workloads, toxic work environments, low compensation. With the novel coronavirus, we’re now bringing this stress home by working remotely. These can have lasting implications on our mental well-being and, ultimately, our gut health. Here are some stress busters to help you cope with work-related stress in the homeplace.

 

Work Causes Stress

 
In 2001, over 80% of workers said they feel stressed at work, according to the annual survey Attitudes in the American Workplace [1]. By 2019, this number rose to 94% of workers who claim that they feel stress at work, while 29% of respondents described their stress levels as high or unsustainably high [2].
 
Even though we are generally aware of these grim statistics and facts, many of us don’t dedicate too much time and effort into managing and reducing our stress levels. This has drastically changed with the emergence of another variable: the crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, people must change the way they work overnight, causing a spike in stress and more anxiety than ever before.

 

10 Stress Busters for Remote Working

 
Before the crisis, workers generally associated working from home or working remotely with lower stress levels [3]. However, in this crisis, that’s definitely not the case. People were forced to adapt to remote work very quickly and without proper time for preparation. This abrupt change is the main cause of higher stress levels from remote work amid the coronavirus crisis. Here is how to get some relief until things settle down and you adapt to the new normal:

 

Get Fresh Air

 
Being stuck in the same environment all the time can hinder your productivity and creativity. Staying indoors all day will deprive you of vitamin D, which is closely connected to mood and stress management. You’ll find yourself resenting your workspace (a/k/a your home. a/k/a your happy place).
 
To solve this, it’s usually recommended that you take a short walk. At least move around the room if you don’t have the opportunity to go outside. Also, consider using a HEPA filter and essential oils to purify the air.

 

Designate a Spot for Just Work

 
Being stuck in the same environment all the time can hinder your productivity and creativity. Staying indoors all day will deprive you of vitamin D, which is closely connected to mood and stress management. You’ll find yourself resenting your workspace (a/k/a your home. a/k/a your happy place).
 
To solve this, it’s usually recommended that you take a short walk. At least move around the room if you don’t have the opportunity to go outside. Also, consider using a HEPA filter and essential oils to purify the air.

 

Take Frequent Short Breaks

 
Stress and burnout syndrome are twins. They are almost identical and act as if they’re in a cyclical-causal relationship (stress causes burnout and overworking causes stress).
 
One meta-analysis of stress and burnout eloquently stated,
 

“Emotional exhaustion is the central strain dimension of burnout, described as feelings of being emotionally drained by one’s work. Cynicism is a negative or excessively detached response to the work itself and/or to the individuals with whom employees’ interact while performing their job. Finally, lack of personal accomplishment refers to a decline in one’s feelings of competence and of successful achievement at work [4].”

Burnout Research via Science Direct
Seeing as you can’t break this cyclical relationship, you have to control it. Reduce your stress levels by reducing some of the work pressures. Take frequent breaks.
 
By taking more frequent breaks, you will give your body and mind the necessary space to disconnect and relax. At the same time, you won’t be taking too much time off. One big break in a single sitting can cause you to feel guilty about not working, which can be a stress trigger of itself.

 

Eat Clean

 
The foods we eat have an impact on how we feel. Every food is comprised of molecules that interact with the molecules that make us. So, if you’re eating foods that cause inflammation, you’re only going to bring on more stress.
 
“Maintaining a healthy diet is linked to a whole myriad of benefits for the mind, body and spirit. For those who have a tendency to eat junk food, it seems impossible that changing their diet can do so much for their lives, but it actually works like that“, says Melanie Sovann, a nutrition writer at Studicus. 
 
Clean eating swaps are the ultimate stress busters on every level. Not only will you feel good, but you’ll look good too. Without having inflammation in the system, our confidence levels will sore. Naturally, this will lower stress levels!

 

Stretch Regularly

 
Stretching really is magic, especially when you’re seated for more extended periods of time. Our bodies may be used to a lot of sitting in front of a screen, but that’s definitely not what they were designed for.
 
In order to give your body what it needs (and reduce stress), you need to give it movement and an energy outlet. Unfortunately, doing vigorous cardio in the middle of your workday is, in most cases, not possible.
 
So, the perfect compromise between the two is doing a light stretch that will release some of those tension areas like your neck, shoulders and back. If you do have 20 minutes, try following along with a yoga video on YouTube. Your body will thank you!

 

Delegate Some of the Work

 
Stress is often caused by strict deadlines and too much work for one person to handle. Instead of testing your mental, emotional and physical limits, take some of the burdens off. Don’t be ashamed to delegate or outsource some of the work that’s taking up too much of your time. 
 
You can use some of these services to find professionals who can handle your tasks: TrustMyPaper (for any kind of writing, research or reporting), WowGrade (find professionals in any industry or field), Fiverr (outsource some of your tasks to freelancers).
 
stress busters share responsibility
Also, delegation doesn’t end in the work room. Working from home means you’re probably obsessing about the dishes, vacuuming, and other menial tasks that you don’t notice from an office.
 
Ask for help from the little ones and other adults in the house. Turn your rear-end busters into stress busters. After all, you’re not the only person living there!

 

Maintain Social Connections

 
You may be away from your co-workers, but that’s not a reason not to stay in touch with them. Thanks to elegant technological solutions, you can keep in touch with your colleagues and co-workers so smoothly that you’ll sometimes forget that you’re not working from the office!
 
Relying on social connections, especially on your support group of family and friends outside of work, is crucial for battling high stress levels. Your emotional support group will also help you to keep your motivation levels up, which can break that vicious cycle of stress – low performance – more stress.

 

Express Your Needs at Home and at Work

 
Everyone is aware that each individual is having a hard time getting through this tough and uncertain period. Instead of keeping your emotions to yourself and letting them boil inside of you, building up huge amounts of stress, share what you feel, and state your needs.
 
stress busters
This sentiment is especially important if you’re working from home, while other people are in the house (either your spouse and children or roommates). To make sure everyone stays productive and in a good mood, you need to clearly set your boundaries and express your needs. The healthiest way to do that is through productive communication. Don’t show what you want and need through acts of passive aggression, but describe it using words.
 
It’s also important to express your needs at work. If you feel like your productivity and performance at work are damaged by the fact that you’re working remotely, discuss with your HR team or managers what you can do to change that. For example, if video conference calls that are too frequent or unnecessary are bothering you (and causing you stress) you can communicate that.

 

Meditate or Try Hypnosis

 
Meditation is an incredibly simple activity, but it can have tremendously positive effects on your brain and body [5].
 
According to scientific research, meditation has all of these health benefits:
 
• Stress Busters: meditation reduces the inflammation processes caused by stress and decreases overall stress levels, especially with long-term practice
• Decreases Anxiety: after a long day of work, use meditation to unwind and set yourself free from anxieties of work and daily obligations
• Enhances Self-awareness and Confidence: re-connect with your inner self by silencing the hustle and bustle of the outside world
• Improves Focus: meditation can lengthen your attention span by teaching you how to stay focused at one thing at a time
• Forms Healthier Sleeping Patterns: if you’re experiencing difficulties with sleeping after working remotely all day, meditation is the best natural cure for anxiety-caused insomnia
• Helps with Pain: if your stress has manifested somatically as physical pain, meditation is an effective way to combat these types of aches and pains
 
You don’t have to pretend you’re some spiritual guru. Just start off with five minutes. Find a quite space and sit upright. Pay attention to your breath. Every time your mind wanders, just go back to thinking about breathing. With time, you will seamlessly tack time onto your meditation! 

 

Probiotics

 
Whenever we’re under stress, it causes an adverse reaction in the gut. That’s why nerve-wracking situations give you a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach. When this happens, it causes an adverse reaction to our vagus nerve [6].
gut health diet
 
Just as stress and poor performance are co-dependent, so is the mind and gut. So, if your mind is at unease, so is your gut biome.
 
You need to stimulate the vagus nerve to improve the vagal tone along the gut-brain-axis. To do this, you need probiotics.
 
Probiotics improve the environment in your gut. They make it easier for you to digest food, help the growth of immune cells, and keep pathogens at bay. All of this makes the vagus nerve happy, which lowers stress levels. 

 

How To Follow These Stress Busters

 
As you can see, there are many resources you can use to decrease your stress caused by working from home. Most of these stress busters are easy and quick to do. They just require slight chances to your normal routine. However, that’s what this whole pandemic has been about!
 
If you feel like some of these stress busters suit you more than others, feel free to focus more of your time and attention towards them. Not everything works for everyone, but it’s worth it to try and take even the tiniest steps towards reducing your stress and anxiety while working from home.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] “Attitudes in the American Workplace VII .” Stress.org, Telephone Polling for The Marlin Company by Harris Interactive, Aug. 2011, www.stress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/2001Attitude-in-the-Workplace-Harris.pdf.
 
[2] Hansen, Brianna. “Crash and Burnout: Is Workplace Stress the New Normal?” Wrike, 6 Sept. 2018, www.wrike.com/blog/stress-epidemic-report-announcement/.
 
[3] Author, Guest. “How Working from Home Can Reduce Stress.” FlexJobs Job Search Tips and Blog, FlexJobs.com, 11 Jan. 2018, www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/how-working-from-home-can-reduce-stress/.
 
[4] Bakker, Arnold B., and Patrícia L. Costa. “Chronic Job Burnout and Daily Functioning: A Theoretical Analysis.” Burnout Research, Elsevier, 22 May 2014, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213058614000096.
 
[5] Thorpe, Matthew. “12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 5 July 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation.
 
[6] Gerritsen, R., & Band, G. (2018). Breath of Life: The Respiratory Vagal Stimulation Model of Contemplative Activity. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 12, 397. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00397.
 

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Signs Your Body Is Aging: What Are Your Growing Pains Telling You?

As we age, a whole lot of things start to change within our bodies. Our skin thins, our bones weaken, and our memories get worse. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to combat the signs your body is aging. Implement little life hack, such as changing your diet and adding supplements to supporting aches and pains through cutting-edge new therapies. Knowing what to look out for can help you formulate a care plan that makes your senior years as enjoyable as possible. Here’s how!

 

Combating Signs Your Body is Aging

 
Growing older shouldn’t be dreadful. It means you’ve accomplished some stuff, done some things, and are leaving a legacy in your path.
 
Aging allows you to see the fruits of your labors. You get to slow down a little, watch your family grow, and spend more time doing your hobbies.
 
Unfortunately, these little pleasures come with some roadblocks. When pain becomes chronic, it opens the door for disease development.
 
An analysis looking at the signs of aging and chronic disease found,
 

“The presence of daily pain also seems to be a risk factor for developing disability. In an observational study done in 11 European countries, 19% of those with daily pain developed disability during the following year, compared to only 14.9% of those without daily pain [1].”

Pain Medicine
So, when you experience the signs of aging, what do you do? Let’s discuss some ways to cope with these chronic pains.

 

Back Pain

signs your body is aging
 
One of the most common signs of aging is back pain. Your back and spine experience many age-related changes that can trigger pain and stiffness. These uncomfortable symptoms might be a result of spinal disk degeneration (osteoarthritis) and narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis).
 
Over time, these conditions can cause you to feel constant pain and may prevent mobility. As surgery is likely not a preferred option, routine massage therapy or using a laser light therapy belt for a half-hour a day can help.

 

Memory Loss

 
We all know that memory loss and mental fogginess often come with the territory of getting older. However, what causes this to happen? Well, as we age, our bodies produce fewer hormones and proteins that the brain uses to protect and repair brain cells [2].
 
signs your body is aging
Additionally, older adults tend to experience decreased blood flow to the brain. In turn, our brain gets less oxygen [3]. This inevitably leads to the deterioration of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is our part of the brain that retrieves and forms memories.

 

There are a few simple things you can do to prevent cognitive decline. Try socializing more, work on brain-teasers, exercise regularly, and consume a diet with healthy fats.

 

Getting Shorter

 
back pain
You spend the early part of your life growing and the later part shrinking! In fact, research shows that women lose an average of three inches, and men drop an average of two inches by the time they turn 80 [4]. So, why does this happen?

 

Shortness is one of the signs your body is aging because the disks in the spine dehydrate, compress, and degenerate. These setbacks cause your disks to pull the spine downward. This motion causes the semblance of a hunched back. In worst-case scenarios, the vertebrae can collapse and fracture due to these conditions.

 

More Susceptible to Illness

 
One of the top signs your body is aging is that you get sick easier. We’re learning this is very evident with the present-day crisis surrounding COVID-19. Unfortunately, aging lowers your immunity. So, if you feel like you’ve gotten sick more often as you’ve gotten older, it’s not your imagination.
While the body uses experience (and age) to build up a strong defense against the bacteria and viruses with which it has come into contact, many more things happen in the body to weaken immune defenses as we get older [5].
 
Much of these hardships center around toxins in our environment, allergens in our food, and Mother Time all coming together.
 
Also, conditions common in older adults—such as diabetes and cancer—can contribute to a weaker immune system. So, if you notice yourself getting sicker, please speak to your physician. Work with them to boost your immune system naturally so you can have a better chance of fighting illnesses.

 

Sweat Less

 
seniors exercise
One of the most overlooked signs your body is aging is a reduction in sweat. Sure, nobody likes to sweat.
 
However, we need this autonomous process to help remove toxins from our bodies.
 
When we were younger, we moved and exercised a lot more, so our bodies needed more sweat to regulate temperature and keep us cool. As we age, the sweat glands (endocrine glands) in our underarms shrink [6].
 
Consequently, less sweat is produced. Women may experience this change more than men due to menopause.

 

Thinner Skin

 
aging person
Many of us are told we need a thick skin to deal with the negativity in this world. However, thicker skin also keeps us looker younger and more vibrant. Aging skin is a clear indicator of how long you’ve been on this earth. Seemingly, there’s nothing we can do about it.
 
As we age, our bodies produce less collagen and elastin, two peptides our system uses to ensure that skin is protective, hydrated, and elastic. As a result, aging skin feels thin, dry, and less supple than it once did. Of course, this leads to the development of wrinkles and fine lines.
 
Don’t turn to cosmetics to fight against signs that your body is aging. Many beauty products are packed with synthetic ingredients that are harmful to your gut biome. Use vegetable and fruit oils for your skin to bring back vitality and enrich it with antioxidants. Also, drink bone broth to bring collagen and elastin back to your skin cells.

 

Frequent Bathroom Trips

signs your body is aging
Urinary problems are common among older adults because the bladder becomes less elastic with age. On top of that, the bladder is a muscle. Unfortunately, muscles tend to lose strength over time.
 
A weaker bladder may make it harder to fully empty when you go to the bathroom. As a result, it may cause loose bladder control (urinary incontinence).
 
An excellent way to gain strength in your bladder is to practice Kegel exercises. These slight movements exercise the pelvic floor muscles. Performing Kegels help strengthen bladder muscles, lowering the chance of incidents.

 

Fluctuating Weight

 
Depending on your health, and which stage of aging you’re in, you may be gaining or losing weight for seemingly no reason. Older people tend to gain weight because their metabolism slows down.
 
An analysis of metabolism during aging noted,
 

“The basal metabolic rate decreases almost linearly with age…The volume of skeletal musculature decreases and the percentage of fat tissue increases with age. It is shown that the decrease in muscle mass relative to total body may be wholly responsible for the age-related decreases in basal metabolic rate. Energy consumption by physical activity also decreases with atrophic changes of skeletal muscle. Thus, energy requirement in the elderly decreases [7].”

Nihon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi.
You might also not feel well enough to exercise like you once did. This sedentary lifestyle will make it harder to burn off calories, resulting in an accumulation of fat tissue around the gut.
 
On the flip side, weight loss occurs in people with conditions common among older adults, such as depression, cancer, and dementia. Long-term use of certain medications may also lead to weight loss.

 

Dental Issues

 
elderly person skin
Have you noticed that your gums appear to be pulling back more from your teeth with every passing year? Are cavities becoming more frequent? These are some of the less talked about signs your body is aging.
 
Dental problems happen for many reasons. Some seem innocent enough, such as years of aggressive brushing. Otherwise, dental problems may indicate the development of periodontal disease (gum disease).
 
Another thing that happens when you get older is that your mouth dries out. With less moisture in the mouth, your teeth and gums are more vulnerable to decay and infection. Therefore, it is more important than ever to practice good dental hygiene in old age.

 

Hearing and Sight Problems

 
Unfortunately, our senses dwindle in old age, causing difficulty seeing and hearing. Age-related hearing loss occurs gradually over one’s lifetime due to decades of loud noises, excessive earwax buildup, and genetics.
signs your body is aging
Certain health conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure, also play a role in hearing loss [8]. All of these signs your body is aging is bad for your mental health. When your brain doesn’t hear specific frequencies frequently, it can lead to brain atrophy [9]. In turn, you become at-risk of developing dementia.
 
Eyesight also suffers from aging. You may experience common issues, such as presbyopia (the loss of ability to see close objects or read small print), floaters, and dry eyes.

 

Embracing Life While Showing Signs Your Body is Aging

young couple
Sure, there are some less-than-ideal things that happen when we add more years to the logbook, but there’s a trade-off to getting older. For all the bad, we also get a whole lot of good in the form of wisdom. Though we all have things we wish we knew when we were young (or things we wish we took more seriously), when it comes to health, it’s never too late to begin practicing good habits.
 
Fight off the signs your body is aging. Join the Thryve Gut Health Program to learn insights about your health, including your metabolism score. Make sure you practice a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and proper diet will help stave off many signs of aging so you can enjoy these years to their fullest!

 

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Resources

 

[1] Gibson, Stephen J., et al. “Prevalence and Relevance of Pain in Older Persons.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 12 Apr. 2012, academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/13/suppl_2/S23/1847844.
 
[2] Timmerman, K. L., & Volpi, E. (2008). Amino acid metabolism and regulatory effects in aging. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 11(1), 45–49. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0b013e3282f2a592.
 
[3] “Age-Related Memory Loss.” HelpGuide.org, 12 Mar. 2020, www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia-aging/age-related-memory-loss.htm.
 
[4] Sagon, Candy. “Are You Getting Shorter? What Height Loss Says About Your Health.” Blogs, 28 Aug. 2014, blog.aarp.org/healthy-living/are-you-getting-shorter-what-height-loss-says-about-your-health.
 
[5] Cicetti, Fred. “Aging Lowers Your Immunity.” LiveScience, Purch, 30 May 2013, www.livescience.com/35908-aging-lowers-your-immunity.html.
 
[6] van den Beld, A. W., Kaufman, J. M., Zillikens, M. C., Lamberts, S., Egan, J. M., & van der Lely, A. J. (2018). The physiology of endocrine systems with ageing. The lancet. Diabetes & endocrinology, 6(8), 647–658. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(18)30026-3.
 
[7] Shimokata, H, and F Kuzuya. “Aging, Basal Metabolic Rate, and Nutrition.” Nihon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi. Japanese Journal of Geriatrics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 1993, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8361073.
 
[8] “Hearing Loss: A Common Problem for Older Adults.” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20 Nov. 2018, www.nia.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-common-problem-older-adults#causes.
 
[9] Lin, F. R., & Albert, M. (2014). Hearing loss and dementia – who is listening?. Aging & mental health, 18(6), 671–673. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2014.915924.
 

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The Role of Gut Bacteria in Strokes and Seizures

The microbiome has been implicated in many different diseases and disorders. Most recently, both epilepsy and strokes have been tied to gut bacteria. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, and it can seriously affect the quality of life for people who have it. Meanwhile, strokes occur more suddenly, claiming the lives of 140,000 Americans every year [1]. So, what is the possible connection between epilepsy, strokes, and gut health? Let’s take a look!

 

What Is Epilepsy?

 
An official epilepsy diagnosis occurs when a person has two or more seizures in their lifetime. About 9% of humans will experience a seizure in their lifetime due to a genetic condition of brain trauma.

 

Types of Seizures

strokes and people
Frequency and severity all differ between cases of seizure activity.
Therefore, each seizure has a different classification.
 
For one, there are focal seizures. These happen in one area of the brain.
 
More regularly, there are generalized seizures [2]. These are more widespread and can affect various parts of the brain.
 
Most common generalized seizures include:
• Absence Seizures – Person Loses Consciousness With No Convulsions
• Conclusive Seizures- Person Loses Consciousness With Convulsions
• Atonic Seizures – Person Falls Into Seizure With No Warning
• Clonic Seizures – Person Loses Control of Bodily Functions During Seizures
 
During these episodes, people may react differently. Some might make noise, while others might lose control of muscles. That’s because electrical currents in the brain are causing a malfunction in the system.

 

What Causes Seizures?

 
The frequency and treatment of epilepsy depend on the person, and sometimes it can be challenging to treat with medication at all.
 
According to the American Brain Foundation,
 

“In epilepsy, the disturbance in neuronal activity due to illness, brain damage or abnormal brain development can cause strange sensations, emotions, and behavior and may also result in convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. The outcomes can be severe, life-threatening and disabling [3].”

American Brain Foundation
Studying epilepsy is challenging because there are many factors involved that lead to a seizure. When electrical currents become erratic, it can influence various areas of the brain that control different functions. All of these factors play a role in how long a person experience a seizure and the lasting effects once the abnormal behaviors cease.

 

Types of Epilepsy Conditions

 
To make matters even more confusing, epilepsy is broken down into different categories. They differ in severity of symptoms, frequency of episodes, and factors that caused the episodes to begin.
 
Types of epilepsy conditions include:
• Lennox-Gastaut – Severe Childhood Epilepsy with Multiple Types of Seizures
Dravet – Prolonged Seizures That Cause Fever
• West Syndrome – Infantile Spasms
• Juvenile Myoclonic – Happens in Sleep With Uncontrolled Body Movement
 
Nobody is sure why a person experiences a seizure. However, research on the gut-brain-axis is circling on gut bacteria. We’ll discuss that in a bit. However, let’s take a closer look at strokes first.

 

What Are Strokes?

ketogenic diet and brain health
Unlike seizures, strokes are not a chronic neurological disorder. Rather, strokes occur more suddenly when a blood vessel in the brain is either blocked or bursts.
 
In turn, you may experience symptoms, such as slurred speech, vision problems, or face paralysis.
 
Symptoms of a stroke are caused by a lack of oxygen making it to the brain. This action causes permanent brain damage and sometimes even death [4].

 

Types of Strokes

 
Much like seizures, strokes are also classified by severity, frequency, and symptoms. There are five types of strokes, with the most common being an ischemic stroke. This type of stroke accounts for approximately 87% of all strokes [5].
 
Types of strokes include:
• Ischemic Strokes – Clot Stops Blood Flow to Brain
• Hemorrhagic Strokes – Eruption of Weakened Blood Vessel
• Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) – Mini-stroke That Indicates a Clot
• Cryptogenic Strokes – Strokes Without a Known Cause
• Brain Stem Strokes – Occurs in Brain Stem, Causes Person to Lose Speech
 
Seeing as they both influence the brain, strokes can also cause epilepsy in patients. Now, recent studies have begun to show that the microbiome and gut health is more closely related to the potential development of epilepsy and the prevalence of strokes than previously thought [6]. Let’s dive a little deeper into research that can help that hypothesis.

 

Ketogenic Diet and Seizures

 
keto and strokes and seizures
 
The ketogenic diet is certainly a health trend right now, with everyone claiming health and weight loss benefits. This popular diet was originally created to treat patients with epilepsy and help them manage their condition by decreasing seizures [7].
 
The exact mechanism of the ketogenic diet involves the regulation of certain neurotransmitters and complex hormonal pathways by using ketones. These energetic bodies come from fat. That’s why many believe the keto diet helps with weight loss. Additionally, our body uses ketones as a fuel source instead of glucose [8].

 

Keto Diet and Microbiome

 
salmon Mediterranean diet
Something that has also been observed through the use of the ketogenic diet to regulate epilepsy is it’s impact on the microbiome [9]. A recent study has shown that the alterations in the microbiome through the ketogenic diet is not simply a side note to the diet’s effects, but actually may be a key in why the diet works to treat seizures.
 
In the study, rats experienced electrically-induced spontaneous tonic seizures. The study used two common gut bacteria found in the gut biome of someone following a ketogenic diet.
 
These genera were Akkermansia and Parabacteroides. They placed the bacteria into gut biomes of rats that were sterilized by antibiotics.
 
Studies noted changes in the epileptic rats’:
• Colonic Lumenal
• Serum
• Hippocampal Metabolomic Profiles
 
Results,
 

“Correlate with seizure protection, including reductions in systemic gamma-glutamylated amino acids and elevated hippocampal GABA/glutamate levels. Bacterial cross-feeding decreases gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase activity, and inhibiting gamma-glutamylation promotes seizure protection in vivo.”

Cell.
The ketogenic diet is not the only clue pointing to the microbiome’s role in the development of epilepsy and predisposition to strokes. Let’s take a look at another study that sheds some light on the gut-brain connection.

 

Ketogenic Diet and Strokes

 
A recent study found that gut bacteria can influence the structure of blood vessels in the brain [10]. In a study involving mice genetically predisposed to specific intestinal flora found that gram-negative stomach bacteria produce molecules known as lipopolysaccharides (LPS).
 
According to the analysis,
 

“When the mice received injections of LPS alone, they formed numerous large cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs), similar to those produced by bacterial infection. Conversely, when the LPS receptor, TLR4, was genetically removed from these mice they no longer formed CCM lesions.”

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
These malformations can cause strokes and epileptic seizures. Additionally, it was found that when the bacteria were removed, and there were no more LPS in the bloodstream, the development of brain malformations decreased. Inevitably, that would lower the chances of strokes and seizures.
 
This study elucidates that the microbiome can affect disease development in people who are already genetically predisposed, but also that different bacterial compositions can cause different outcomes in people with the same genetic predispositions.

 

Probiotics and Seizures

 
A recent study found probiotics could help mitigate epileptic seizures [11]. The analysis also noted that the use of probiotics improved memory and spatial cognition.
 
Many of the positive benefits were attributed to the increase in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) after probiotic intervention.

 

Probiotics and Strokes

 
While strokes weren’t studied in the aforementioned resource, there has been much research on the benefits of GABA in stroke treatment and the prevention of future strokes [12].

 

The Microbiome, Stroke, and Seizure Prevention

microbiome and strokes
These studies do not prove that probiotics are an effective treatment for epilepsy. Still, it is encouraging to see that supplementing with probiotics could potentially have a positive effect on epilepsy. These findings further suggest that the microbiome plays a role in the development of neurological conditions.
 
The microbiome affects many aspects of our health and wellness. With every study, new ways that the microbiome is implicated in our well-being become illuminated. The connection between the microbiome and epilepsy, as well as strokes, is an exciting scientific development. Through this connection opens the possibility that taking care of our microbiome can help with decreasing our risk of strokes and if you have epilepsy, potentially reducing seizure prevalence.

 

Managing Strokes and Seizures Through Diet

 
A good way to start taking better care of your microbiome is by eating a healthy balanced diet and by taking probiotic supplements. While the science behind probiotic supplementation for epilepsy and stroke prevention is still new, it is clear that probiotics offer a myriad of other health benefits. The possible prevention of epilepsy and strokes are just icing on the cake.
 
As we discover new connections in the web of wellness, it becomes more evident that looking after one part of your health has implications for other areas as well. That’s why Thryve tries to make it easier for you.
 
In the Thryve Gut Health Program, we analyze your stomach bacteria to determine what’s causing unfavorable mental health issues. From there, we recommend a probiotic supplement that helps bring balance to the system. Lastly, we work with you on a diet plan that will help keep harmful bacteria from growing and healthy bacteria flourishing.

 

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Resources

 

[1] “The Internet Stroke Center.” The Internet Stroke Center. An Independent Web Resource for Information about Stroke Care and Research., 7 Apr. 2020, www.strokecenter.org/patients/about-stroke/stroke-statistics/.
 
[2] “Types of Seizures.” Epilepsy Ontario, Ontario Trillium Foundation , 2018, epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/types-of-seizures/.
 
[3] “Epilepsy-Seizure Disorders.” American Brain Foundation , American Academy of Neurology , 7 Apr. 2020, www.americanbrainfoundation.org/diseases/seizure-disorders.
 
[4] “About Stroke.” Www.stroke.org, 7 Apr. 2020, www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke.
 
[5] “Types of Stroke.” Www.stroke.org, 7 Apr. 2020, www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke/types-of-stroke.
 
[6] “Microbiome Research in Epilepsy: Hope or Hype?” Microbiome Research in Epilepsy: Hope or Hype? // International League Against Epilepsy, 2019, www.ilae.org/journals/epigraph/epigraph-vol-21-issue-3-summer-2019/microbiome-research-in-epilepsy-hope-or-hype.
 
[7] Kim, Do Young, and Jong M Rho. “The Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy : Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care.” LWW, Mar. 2008, journals.lww.com/co-clinicalnutrition/Abstract/2008/03000/The_ketogenic_diet_and_epilepsy.6.aspx.
 
[8] Rho, Jong M. “How Does the Ketogenic Diet Induce Anti-Seizure Effects?” Neuroscience Letters, Elsevier, 26 July 2015, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304394015300549.
 
[9] Olson, Christine A, et al. “The Gut Microbiota Mediates the Anti-Seizure Effects of the Ketogenic Diet.” Cell, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 June 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29804833.
 
[10] NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “Brain Blood Vessel Lesions Tied to Intestinal Bacteria.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 18 May 2017, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170518140232.htm.
 
[11] Bagheri, Samaneh, et al. “Effect of Probiotic Supplementation on Seizure Activity and Cognitive Performance in PTZ-Induced Chemical Kindling.” Epilepsy & Behavior : E&B, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31026781.
 
[12] Paik, N. J., & Yang, E. (2014). Role of GABA plasticity in stroke recovery. Neural regeneration research, 9(23), 2026–2028. https://doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.147920.
 

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Top 10 Brain Foods To Improve Your Memory

What you choose to eat has a significant impact on the health of your brain and how well your memory functions. Your mind relies on antioxidants to protect grey matter, proteins to produce brain cells, and minerals to be the catalysts to make brainpower happen. Nutritional brain foods can really improve specific mental tasks, like concentration and logical thinking. Here we give the top ten snacks and foods that you can include in your diet to keep your brain at optimum health.

 

Why Eating Brain Foods Matters

 
Our mind controls the entire body. This three-pound lump of protein and fat is the most intricate structure known to humankind [1]. It’s comprised of billions of neurons that influence our central nervous system. In turn, these neurons regulate many vital functions.
 
We rely on our brain for:
brain foods
• Memory
• Cognitive Function
• Vision
• Depth Perception
Mood
• Emotional Response
• Decision Making
• Movement
• Appetite
 
The list really goes on. So, we need to do everything in power to protect our brain. Feeding ourselves foods in a typical Western diet can completely undo all the productivity that consuming brain foods can do. Stay away from refined sugars and heavily-processed foods. Instead, opt for our top ten brain foods.

 

Brain Foods You Must Include In Your Diet

 
We rely on our brain for so much. So, it’s imperative we do everything in our power to protect this organ. The foods we consume communicate with our brain. Their nutrients travel via the gut-brain-axis, and give our mind the energy necessary to keep us healthy and productive. Here are the top ten brain foods you have to add to your meal plan!

 

Yogurt

 
Yogurt is a fantastic source of B-vitamins. B-Vitamins are like energetic currency for the brain. In fact, the mind autonomously hoards a supply of B-Vitamins to ensure it doesn’t run out.
 
An analysis of B-Vitamins and brain health noted,
 
“The importance of the B vitamins for brain function is illustrated by the fact that each vitamin is actively transported across the blood brain barrier and/or choroid plexus by dedicated transport mechanisms. Once in the brain, specific cellular uptake mechanisms dictate distribution, and, whilst the B vitamins all have high turnovers, ranging from 8% to 100% per day, their levels are tightly regulated by multiple homeostatic mechanisms in the brain. This guarantees that brain concentrations remain comparatively high [2].”Nutrients
One of the B-Vitamins we have more research about is Vitamin B-12. We don’t produce this vitamin on our own, so we must consume it in our diet. Unfortunately, animal fat is the primary source of this essential vitamin.
 
So, yogurt is one of the ultimate brain foods for someone following a vegetarian diet. As a bonus, choose Greek yogurt, which has the highest protein level with no additional sugar.

 

Oatmeal

 
oatmeal brain foods
A bowl of oatmeal made with real, uncut oats is the best way that you can start your day to boost your memory.
 
Oats are naturally gluten-free grains. So, you are not likely to develop inflammation from consuming them.
 
As whole grains, oats break down slowly. Therefore, your body is fed energy gradually throughout the day as the fiber digests.
 
Since we have trouble digesting oats on our own, the undigested fibers serve as prebiotics for probiotics. Thanks to the gut-brain-axis, a happy gut means a happy brain!

 

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

 
Greens are a must for your diet if you want to improve brain function and the health of your overall body. They are rich in Vitamin K. Vitamin K. This fat-soluble vitamin is crucial in the formation of sphingolipids, which are fats needed for our brain cells [3].
 
Some of the best green brain foods include:
A little kale won’t kale ya!
Spirulina
• Brussels Sprouts
• Kale
• Asparagus
• Bok Choy
• Broccoli
• Pea Shoots
• Collard Greens
• Spinach
 
Throw some spinach into your next soup. Make a superfood smoothie. Swap out a sandwich roll for a collard green wrap. It is easy to include green vegetables into most of your meals, and they give you a real bang for your buck!

 

Oily Fish

You can’t find more powerful brain foods than oily fish. Omega-3 fatty oils in fish are critical for a healthy brain. They serve as building blocks for your brain cells.
 
You need to consume omega-3s through diet and supplements because your produce doesn’t produce them naturally.  
 
“Without omega-3, you can experience fatigue and decreased memory function, so it is vital to incorporate some of this into your diet, “says Julia Green, an educator at Academic Writing Services. Green continued, “The best source is oily fish, like trout, herring, wild salmon, sardines and mackerel.”
When you purchase fish, make sure they are wild-caught. Factory-farmed fish are more likely to carry contaminants that may pose harm to your health [4].

 

Nuts & Seeds

 
If you are vegan or don’t enjoy the taste of fish, other excellent sources of omega 3-fats are nuts and seeds. In fact, walnuts are heralded at some of the best brain foods because its structure resembles a brain!
 
Besides walnuts, some of the best choices for an omega-rich snack include:
• Almonds
Cashews
• Macadamia Nuts
• Brazil Nuts
Chia Seeds
• Hemp Seeds
• Pumpkin Seeds
• Sunflower Seeds
 
Nuts and seeds aren’t just teeming with omegas, but they also contain a considerable amount of Vitamin E. This antioxidant increases blood flow, which helps move oxygen to the brain [5].
 
Additionally, Vitamin E protects cell membranes from free radical damage. This beneficial trait slows down cognitive decline. Lastly, these tiny treats are packed with protein, which helps you to stay full throughout the day. Just don’t go overboard. They’re still rich in fat!

 

Eggs

 
Eggs are a quick and affordable way to get high-quality protein and a little bit of brainpower. These breakfast staples are particularly high in choline. Choline is a micronutrient that acts as a catalyst for acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that influences our emotions and memory.
 
An analysis of this pivotal neurotransmitter concluded,
 

“Loss of cholinergic neurons is associated with impaired cognitive function, particularly memory loss and Alzheimer disease (AD). Brain atrophy and white-matter hyperintensity (WMH) are also associated with impaired cognitive function and AD [6].”

Am J Clin Nutr. 
If you are purchasing eggs, make sure they are cage-free. It’s not only the more humane option. Cage-free is better for your health. These animals are raised without hormones or fed crops grown with pesticides.

 

Dark Chocolate

 
Chocolate, especially the dark variety, boosts your energy and helps your brain to focus. There are strong antioxidants in chocolate, as well as natural stimulants, like caffeine, that help keep us focused on the task-at-hand.
 
This tasty treat is also rich in flavonoids. Research found that flavonoids in dark chocolate were able to penetrate the blood-brain-barrier [7]. As a result, your brain gets a boost of energy. In particular, flavonoids in dark chocolate seem to influence the temporo-parieto-occipital (TPO) junction.
 
The TPO oversees functions, including:
• Spatial Awareness
• Reading
• Math Calculations
• Self-Awareness
• Musical Memory
• Face Recognition
• Muscle Memory
 
Suffice to say; it’s beneficial for students to eat dark chocolate. However, make sure there aren’t too many added sugars. Instead, opt for naturally flavored dark chocolate with chilies or oranges.  

 

Berries 

 
Studies have linked berries to improved mental function, and all types can be beneficial for your brain [8]. The antioxidants in blueberries make these fruits one of the best choices for brain foods.
Snack away!
Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins. Studies show that anthocyanins “effectively scavenge” free radicals; thus, limiting the risk of declining brain function as you age [9].
 
Vitamin C in berries also improves the brain’s agility. Their healthy sugars boost your energy, helping you to stay alert. That way, you can concentrate on the day ahead.
 
Sprinkle your berries onto your oatmeal, add them to your yogurt bowl, or include them in a smoothie. Bought too much? Try fermenting fruits!

 

Beans

 
Beans are another plant-based protein that boasts a wide range of nutrients beneficial to brain health. They are abundant with magnesium, B-vitamins, and fiber. 
 
Some of the best beans for brain food include:
kidney beans brain foods
• Pinto Beans
• Chickpeas
• Peas
• Kidney Beans
• Black Beans
• Butterbeans
 
If you are sensitive to lectins, then beans might not be the best option for you. Instead, get many of these same nutrients from gluten-free grains, nuts, and seeds.

 

Avocados

 
As we have seen above, fatty oils are crucial for brain health. Just behind berries in priority, avocados are incredible for your brain function. In fact, you should pair them together. Avocados are rich in healthy fats that help you absorb the vitamins in your fruit.
 
Although it is technically a fruit, avocados are packed with monosaturated fats. These efficient energy sources actually boost healthy blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increase cognitive skills. Be cautious with the amount that you eat, though; these brunch must-haves are high in calories.

 

How to Eat More Brain Foods

 
What you eat influences your mind. So, if you keep your gut healthy, your brain should follow. Therefore, you should find a balanced diet of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and high-quality proteins. We can help you with the Thryve Inside Gut Health Program.
 
Thryve Gut Health Program
Our database is full of recipes that include all of your favorite brain foods. Better yet, these recipes are designed to help your probiotic bacteria grow in your gut, too.
 
As a member of the Thryve Gut Health Program, we give you in-depth insights on your overall health, metabolism, and gut bacteria. With this information, we can tailor a probiotic and meal plan that will get your gut in check. Ultimately, joining our program will help bolster your brainpower, too!

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Zuckerman, Catherine. “Human Brain: Information, Facts and News.” Human Brain: Facts and Information, 1 Feb. 2019, www.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-body/brain/#close.
 
[2] Kennedy D. O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8020068.
 
[3] Denisova, Natalia A, and Sarah L Booth. “Vitamin K and Sphingolipid Metabolism: Evidence to Date.” Nutrition Reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15869125.
 
[4] “Factory Fish Farming.” Food & Water Watch, 29 Sept. 2015, www.foodandwaterwatch.org/insight/factory-fish-farming.
 
[5] Hong, Jung-Hee, et al. “Effects of Vitamin E on Oxidative Stress and Membrane Fluidity in Brain of Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats.” Clinica Chimica Acta; International Journal of Clinical Chemistry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14734202.
 
[6] Nurk, Eha, et al. “Plasma Free Choline, Betaine and Cognitive Performance: the Hordaland Health Study.” The British Journal of Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Feb. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22717142?dopt=Abstract.
 
[7] Santiago-Rodríguez, E., Estrada-Zaldívar, B., & Zaldívar-Uribe, E. (2018). Effects of Dark Chocolate Intake on Brain Electrical Oscillations in Healthy People. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 7(11), 187. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods7110187.
 
[8] Subash, S., Essa, M. M., Al-Adawi, S., Memon, M. A., Manivasagam, T., & Akbar, M. (2014). Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. Neural regeneration research, 9(16), 1557–1566. https://doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.139483.
 
[9] Hwang, Jin-Woo, et al. “Anthocyanin Effectively Scavenges Free Radicals and Protects Retinal Cells from H 2 O 2 -Triggered G2/M Arrest.” European Food Research and Technology, Springer-Verlag, 1 Jan. 1970, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00217-011-1648-9.
 

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Soylent Diet Study: Liquid Diet Might Affect Mood

Thryve Inside recently conducted an internal study about changes in the health of someone who consumes a Soylent drink meal replacement for their sole source of nutrition. Results found that Soylent nutrition, instead of solid food, may increase stomach bacteria that can affect your mood. While this liquid diet is rich in many beneficial nutrients, it doesn’t meet daily fiber recommendations per caloric intake. So, strict Soylent drinkers might not achieve optimal gut health. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of consuming a Soylent bottle for each meal.

 

Soylent Diet Study Methodology

 
Our Thryve Inside Soylent diet study was conducted in three phases over an eight-day period. Phase A saw our volunteer consume a regular Western diet of solid food. They followed this protocol for two days.
 
In Phase B, the participant consumed Soylent for three days. During Phase B, Soylent nutrition was the test subject’s only source of nutrition.
 
Days six through eight were Phase C. During Phase C; our volunteer went back to the diet they followed in Phase A.
 
Every day of this Soylent diet study, we sampled the gut biome of our participant. Let’s take a look at the differences a diet of only Soylent nutrition can have on the human body when compared to regular eating habits.

 

What Are Soylent Products?

 
Soylent is a brand of products that are the brainchild of Silicon Valley software engineer Rob Rhinehart. Soylent products offer all the elements of a healthy diet in one convenient product. With the main ingredient being soy protein isolate, this liquid diet provides the human body with adequate nutrition without the calorie intake of consuming traditional food.
According to Soylent’s website,
 

“Soylent is engineered nutrition. We carefully and purposefully choose each ingredient to offer a complete meal in every bottle of Ready-to-Drink Soylent and each scoop of Soylent Powder [1].”

Soylent
There are many types of Soylent products, including:
soylent diet study
• Soylent Drinks (Meal Replacement Drinks)
• Soylent Squared (100 Calorie Nutrition Bars)
• Soylent Cafe (Coffee and Nutrition Beverages)
• Soylent Powder (Shake and Smoothie Powders)
• Soylent Bridge (Heavy Nutrition Snack)
Out of the many Soylent products, only the meal replacement drink was consumed during Phase B of the Soylent diet study.
 
It’s hard to determine if Soylent diets can be a person’s sole source of nutrition forever. A long term liquid diet isn’t something with a ton of studies to read.
 
Our Soylent diet study just gives a small snapshot of changes the human body goes through when we trade in traditional food for a Soylent bottle. With that said, Soylent drinks have all the elements of a healthy diet in one meal replacement drink.

 

What is In A Soylent Drink?

 
Many of the ingredients comprising Soylent nutrition are also staples in the weightlifting community. Let’s take a look at the ingredients that lie within a Soylent bottle to see if they meet the elements of a healthy diet.

 

Soy Protein Isolate

 
Soy protein isolate is a complete protein and is one of the most nutrient-dense plant-based proteins in the world. One Soylent bottle contains 500mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
soy in soylent diet
 
Studies about adopting a soy protein liquid diet seem to indicate potential benefits. One study involving 77 volunteers found that switching to a soy protein meal replacement drink caused the average person to lose 4.4 pounds [2].
 
Furthermore, those who switched from a traditional food diet to one of liquid saw a 26.3% decrease in C-reactive protein in the system. Our liver secretes more of this protein when there is inflammation present in the microbiome [3]. Therefore, soy protein isolate might be an anti-inflammatory food.
 
There are many health benefits of soy. Unfortunately, it’s also a common allergen. So, not everyone can reap the benefits of this plant-based protein. Therefore, following a Soylent diet might actually cause them digestive issues.

 

Sunflower Oil

We’ve got the protein covered. Now, it’s time for the healthy fats. Sunflower oil is rich in oleic acid. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid.
 
Therefore, it’s very efficient for our bodies to break down. So, these fatty acids are less likely to accumulate around your gut and cause weight gain.
 
You need fats for brain health, nutrient absorption, and repairing your gut lining.
 
However, most of us who eat traditional food tend to get a bit overboard with the fats. So, drinking a Soylent beverage is an easy way to monitor your fat intake.

 

Isomaltulose

 
The last primary ingredient in Soylent drinks is isomaltulose. Isomaltulose is a sugar alternative. Soylent products get this sweetener from beetroots.
 
Many who watch their sugar intake prefer isomaltulose. Our body metabolizes it slower. So, it is less likely to cause an increase in blood sugar levels.

 

Other Ingredients

 
There are other ingredients that round out this meal replacement drink. Some of them are beneficial, such as alkalized cocoa powder. However, there are many other potential red flags in this product.
 
Other ingredients in Soylent drinks include:
• Natural and Artificial Flavors
• Sucrose
• Cellulose
artificial flavors
When you see “natural” flavors, it can mean that the flavors are synthetically made to mimic flavors derived in nature. However, Soylent also admits to having “artificial” flavors in their beverage. We have no idea what these ingredients are and potential benefits or detriments they may bring.
 
Sucrose is a funny addition to Soylent drinks. After all, isomaltulose is usually used as a replacement for sucrose. So, the amount of sugar in the drink continues to add up.
 
Speaking of which, cellulose is also a polysaccharide. That’s more sugar. Not to mention, our bodies have trouble digesting these simple sugars.
 
Research published by Kahn Academy indicates,
 

“Cellulose, an important structural component of the plant cell wall, is a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of multiple β(1-41−41, minus, 4) linked glucose units. Cellulose is difficult for most animals to digest. Humans are unable to digest cellulose due to the lack of the enzyme needed to cleave its β(1-41−41, minus, 4) glycosidic bond [4].”

Kahn Academy
Based on our data and research, long-term use of Soylent drinks may cause some digestive issues. If you find following a Soylent diet works for you, try doing it intermittently with traditional food that is high in probiotics. That way, the bacteria can help your body break down this product and flush out the system.

 

Soylent Nutrition

 
Most Soylent products are enriched with:
 
• 26g of Protein
• 26+ Vitamins and Minerals
• 21g of Healthy Fats
• Complex Carbohydrates
 
According to Soylent’s website, the Soylent Diet bases their serving sizes on a 2,000 caloric intake [5]. To achieve this recommendation, you would have to consume a Soylent bottle five times per day.
 
The average male and female need between 46g to 56g of protein everyday [6]. Consuming just Soylent drinks as meal replacements would give you the averaged recommended protein intake. By rights, Soylent drinkers should be super-powered with Soylent nutrition. Did our study agree with this sentiment?

 

Soylent Diet Study Results

 
When we started our Thryve Inside internal studies, we looked at numerous dietary methods. Perhaps none saw as small of a change in gut bacteria than switching to a Soylent diet.
 
gut bacteria diversity thryve diet studies
Almost no change in gut bacteria from Phase A to B,
with a small drop off when switching to Phase C
Most of the changes to stomach bacteria had to do with microbes that influence the gut-brain-axis. Let’s take a closer look at our data.

 

Increases and Decreases Bacteria Associated With Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)

 
Most of the side effects of a Soylent diet that our volunteer experienced weren’t gut-related. They were more mental. We saw an interesting development when we tested their gut biome. Bacteria associated with inflammation in the colon increased in some areas and decreased in others. Here’s what we found.

 

Increases Proteobacteria

 
The two major phyla of bacteria in the gut biome are Bacteroides and Firmicutes. They make up 90% of intestinal florae. Having Proteobacteria in the microbiome is indicative of a healthy gut. However, having too much can cause some digestive problems.
 
soylent data graphSwitching to a Soylent diet saw Proteobacteria levels jump
A meta-analysis about the influence Proteobacteria has on the gut stated,
 

“Overgrowth of Proteobacteria has been associated with metabolic syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Also, Proteobacteria can be selected (over Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes) by intestinal inflammation as tested by TLR5-knockout mice, and some Proteobacteria can induce colitis in this background, potentially leading to a feedback loop [7].” 

Microbiome
It should be noted that the volunteer already relatively high levels of Proteobacteria going into the study. Their presence already took up 7% of space. That would leave almost 3% for other bacteria if the test subject had a ratio of Bacteroides to Firmicutes that added up to 90%. After a Soylent diet, Proteobacteria was almost 10% of their gut bacteria.
 
Lack of Sufficient Fiber
 
gluten-free grains
We hypothesize that the reason for this growth of bacteria associated with IBD is that solely Soylent drinkers don’t get adequate dietary fiber. In Soylent drinks, there is just 2.83g of dietary fiber [8]. At five bottles, a Soylent diet provides 14.25g of total fiber. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the average person should consume 25g of fiber per day [9].
 
Dietary fiber serves as nutrition for your probiotics. Fiber our body can’t consume provides food for probiotic growth. These energy sources are known as prebiotics. The more prebiotics we feed probiotics, the more beneficial short-chain fatty acids they will create.
 
When our probiotics have prebiotics, they provide our system with butyrate. Butyrate is essential for the strength of our colon cells. By consuming fiber, we help prevent instances of IBD.

 

Lowers Paraprevotella

 
While Soylent promotes the growth of bacteria associated with IB,  it reduces the presence of others related to gut inflammation. During the study, our test subject saw a 63% drop in Paraprevotella in the system.
soylent diet moodOur test subject felt down as the Soylent diet progressed
One analysis of this opportunistic bacteria stated,
 

“Studies indicate that Prevotella predominantly activate Toll‐like receptor 2, leading to production of Th17‐polarizing cytokines by antigen‐presenting cells, including interleukin‐23 (IL‐23) and IL‐1. Furthermore, Prevotella stimulate epithelial cells to produce IL‐8, IL‐6 and CCL20, which can promote mucosal Th17 immune responses and neutrophil recruitment [10].” 

Immunology
The lowering of Paraprevotella may explain why the test subject didn’t experience severe gastro issues. It may have offset the increase in Proteobacteria.

 

Alters Bacteria Associated With Mood

 
Our test subject self-reported that they felt really depressed as the Soylent diet progressed. We noticed that these feelings correlated with a shift in balance between two types of gut bacteria associated with mental health.

 

Lowers Phascolarctobacterium

 
As our gut test indicates, their levels of Phascolarctobacterium plummeted during the second day of the Soylent diet.
soylent diet sadnessDay 2 of the Soylent diet was the hardest for our test subject
This genus is known to produce two beneficial short-chain fatty acids in acetate and propionate. These fatty acids help with everything from producing gut hormones to nutrient absorption [11]. Furthermore,
 
Phascolarctobacterium plays a vital role in mental health.
 
A study on the connection between Phascolarctobacterium and mood concluded,
 

Phascolarctobacterium was found to be positively correlated to the positive mood of the human (6). An increasing number of studies proposed that Phascolarctobacterium faecium (P. faecium) exerted beneficial effects on the host, including rat model of nonalcoholic fatty liver [12].”

Exp Ther Med
When our test subject entered Phase C, they noted positive changes in the demeanor. Our data shows that this change in perception correlates with a rise in Phascolarctobacterium in the gut biome.

 

Increases Sutterella

 
Additionally, our test subject saw a rise in Sutterella wadsworthensis in the system. For one, this bacteria is heavily associated with IBD. One study found that 83.8% of adults who have ulcerative colitis have an abundance of this bacteria [13].
 
Furthermore, this bacteria seems to be abundant in people diagnosed with autism. While autism isn’t the same as the depressive mood felt by the test subject, it does show there is a correlation between state of mind and Sutterella wadsworthensis.
 
With that said, levels of this bacteria remained higher in Phase C than they did Phase A. However, the volunteer self-reported they felt better emotionally during Phase C. So, these findings may infer that the presence of Sutterella has less influence on moods than the absence of Phascolarctobacterium.

 

Are Soylent Diets Healthy?

 
All-in-all, switching from traditional food to a liquid diet is stressful for the system. So, in the long term, it will probably be stressful for you. These unenviable effects were felt by our test subject during their Soylent diet.
 
Soylent diets seem to offer a lot of nutrition in one sitting. In the short term, it might not hurt to have a meal replacement drink instead of a complete meal. However, it shouldn’t be your permanent source of nutrition.
 
Our test subject didn’t see much change in their bacteria diversity overall. However, the alterations in the abundance of specific species led to a change in moods. We believe the reason for this is the lack of necessary dietary fiber present in Soylent drinks isn’t enough to sustain a diverse microbiome.

 

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Resources

 

[1] “About Soylent: What’s in Soylent?” Soylent, 24 Mar. 2020, soylent.com/pages/about-soylent.
 
[2] Li, Z, et al. “Long-Term Efficacy of Soy-Based Meal Replacements vs an Individualized Diet Plan in Obese Type II DM Patients: Relative Effects on Weight Loss, Metabolic Parameters, and C-Reactive Protein.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15674301.
 
[3] “C-Reactive Protein Test.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 Nov. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/c-reactive-protein-test/about/pac-20385228.
 
[4] “Why Rabbits Can Digest Cellulose (Practice).” Khan Academy, Khan Academy, 2 Apr. 2020, www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat/biological-sciences-practice/biological-sciences-practice-tut/e/gastrointestinal-system—passage-2.
 
[5] Labs, Rosa. “Soylent Serving Sizes.” Soylent FAQ, 2 Apr. 2020, faq.soylent.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002714626-Soylent-Serving-Sizes.
 
[6] “Protein Intake – How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day?” Healthline, 24 Mar. 2020, www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-per-day.
 
[7] Bradley, P. H., & Pollard, K. S. (2017). Proteobacteria explain significant functional variability in the human gut microbiome. Microbiome, 5(1), 36. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40168-017-0244-z.
 
[8] Labs, Rosa. “Fiber and Digestion.” Soylent FAQ, 2 Apr. 2020, faq.soylent.com/hc/en-us/articles/200789985-Fiber-and-digestion.
 
[9] “Whole Grains, Refined Grains, and Dietary Fiber.” Www.heart.org, 20 Sept. 2016, www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/whole-grains-refined-grains-and-dietary-fiber.
 
[10] Larsen J. M. (2017). The immune response to Prevotella bacteria in chronic inflammatory disease. Immunology, 151(4), 363–374. https://doi.org/10.1111/imm.12760.
 
[11] Ríos-Covián, D., Ruas-Madiedo, P., Margolles, A., Gueimonde, M., de Los Reyes-Gavilán, C. G., & Salazar, N. (2016). Intestinal Short Chain Fatty Acids and their Link with Diet and Human Health. Frontiers in microbiology, 7, 185. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00185.
 
[12] Wu, F., Guo, X., Zhang, J., Zhang, M., Ou, Z., & Peng, Y. (2017). Phascolarctobacterium faecium abundant colonization in human gastrointestinal tract. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 14(4), 3122–3126. https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2017.4878.
 
[13] Mukhopadhya, I., Hansen, R., Nicholl, C. E., Alhaidan, Y. A., Thomson, J. M., Berry, S. H., Pattinson, C., Stead, D. A., Russell, R. K., El-Omar, E. M., & Hold, G. L. (2011). A comprehensive evaluation of colonic mucosal isolates of Sutterella wadsworthensis from inflammatory bowel disease. PloS one, 6(10), e27076. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027076.
 

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