Mental Health and Gastrointestinal Problems
Nearly one in five adults in the United States are diagnosed with a form of mental illness. Over one-third of adult Americans are considered obese. As you can imagine, there must be a lot of overlap between those who have gastrointestinal distress and those who are battling the symptoms of mental health disorders.
That is why practices like microbiome testing and using the best supplements for depression may help you find a balance for both.
The reason for such a strong gut brain connection is due to how our body is set up. At the end of our brain stem, a series of nerves known as the vagus nerve hang down. These little trapeze artists act as a gauge for your gut health. If you experience frequent bouts of acid reflux, heartburn, or other GI Issues, then the nerves are going to pick up on some bad vibes.
Digestion of food influences how we feel emotionally. When we consume a diet rich in fatty, fried foods served on refined white bread, it puts our system in shock. Continuously turning to processed foods and preservative-filled TV dinners does more than shock the system. These decisions alter it.
Over time, these high cholesterol foods pumped with hormones and/or artificial ingredients start to leave behind fats and sticky residues. These indigestible toxins slowly create a blockage in the arteries, gut lining, and skin lining. In turn, harmful bacteria begin to fester and inflammation grows.
When inflammation becomes chronic, it sets off the nerves tissues on the vagus nerve. The brain receives this message. Now, the mind is getting continuous impulses that things are wrong down in the microbiome.
As long as you’re experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, your mind is agitated. That’s because the vagus nerve acts like the petulant child pulling on your pant leg, saying “Mom” over and over again. Except, the vagus nerve is telling your mind, “GI Problems! GI problems! GI problems!”
Stomach Bacteria and Mental Health
What we consume not only complicates (or helps) the digestion of food. Our dietary decisions also impact the intestinal flora and other stomach bacteria living in our system. Harmful bacteria, virus, and yeast like to feast on the foods that are clogging us up.
The reason dangerous intestinal flora like artificial sugars, animal fats, and simple carbs is because these ingredients are a receipe for backups in the digestion of food. Therefore, these problematic foods oxidize inside of your microbiome. Their abrasive vapors help alter the pH balance in your gut to an acidic state.
Gastrointestinal issues aren’t just the worst because of the stomach problems they cause. When we are under gastrointestinal distress, our vagus nerve is under stress.
Studies show that intestinal bacteria have a direct influence on the central nervous system (CNS). Ridding harmful microbes is a key reason why you should be looking for the best supplements for depression. That’s because research indicates the diversity of microbes influences mental health conditions such as:
- Depressive Disorder
When you have chronic GI issues, you should learn what type of intestinal flora is living in your gut. That way you can come up with an action plan of ousting this stomach bacteria from your microbiome. Invest in a gut health test. That way you can pinpoint the bad guys so we can formulate personalized probiotic to help shift the balance back toward the good guys.
Serotonin and Gut Health
Part of the reason we experience mental health issues is because our brain burns through our joy and rewarding neurotransmitters too quickly. Namely, we’re talking about serotonin and dopamine.
For those who are battling both mental health and gastrointestinal disorders, studies show these parties tend to have high levels of cortisol. Cortisol is our stress hormone. When we are embattling chronic stress, our adrenal glands pour out cortisol like it’s drawing a bath. This leaves little room for other hormones like melatonin and our reproductive hormones to produce. This imbalance can lead to bouts of mental illness, insomnia, and even infertility.
Studies show that having an abundance of probiotic bacteria lowers levels of cortisol in the system. Not only will this increase our shut-eye and stress levels but it will also help with our mood.
Up to 90% of the serotonin in our body comes from our gut. If our microbiome is compromised from not following a healthy gut diet plan, the stomach acids become too acidic. Therefore, it destroys the serotonin before this important mood regulator can hit the bloodstream! This further explains the importance of microbiome testing and getting the best supplements for depression.
The 8 Best Supplements for Depression
Supplements are not going to cure depression. They are here to do as the name implies–supplement. Millions are born with a mental illness. Unfortunately, for some, there won’t be a cure. However, a great remedy for millions of others who are suffering from mental health and gastrointestinal issues is to:
- Follow a Healthy Gut Diet Plan
- Invest in Gut Health Test Kit for Microbiome Testing
- Take Best Supplements for Depression
These three steps are all pretty easy to do. You can find all you need about a gut bacteria test kit here. Once you’re enrolled in the Thryve Gut Health Program, we help you find the best foods for gut health based on your dietary restrictions. In the meantime, here are the 8 best supplements for depression.
Not only does this plant smell good, but it helps you feel good, too! Many studies indicate the lavender has sedative-like effects on the system. Luckily, it does the same to our glutamate receptors.
While glutamate helps regulate the neurons in the
- Alzheimer’s Disease
What makes lavender one of the best supplements for depression is how versatile it is. You can seep the leaves like a tea or take a
Sometimes we really just need a good night’s sleep. Our body never gets a break. Even when we are snoring, the rest of the system is working on repairing cells, clearing out infections, and breaking down food particles. Not to mention, the gut needs us to sleep so it can create our serotonin and immune cells. Once we stop distracting our body, we can ge stuff done.
A huge part of the reason we can’t sleep is due to stress. Cortisol not only makes us feel anxious during the day, but it disrupts our patterns at night. Real bossy thing, huh?
Help your brain get back on track. Regulate your sleep cycle by taking melatonin a couple hours before bed. When you are at rest, your mind is off. That means no reason to make cortisol, no food to eat that causes gastrointestinal issues, and no bouts of depression.
Another drawback of the SAD is that we consume a lot of omega-6 fatty acids. These are high in HDL cholesterol, which adds extra stress to our system. As we know, gastrointestinal issues are mental health issues. To find the balance, we need to counteract the omega-6s. A great way to do that is with omega-3 fatty acid-rich, fish oil.
Fish oil is one of the best supplements for depression and a healthy gut diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with depression tend to have low levels of two essential omega-3 fatty acids in their system–eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are abundant in fish oil.
Research on EPA and DHA found, “the ability of EPA and DHA to impede the incidence of depression in patients receiving interferon-alpha (IFN-α) for Hepatitis C treatment. This found that EPA significantly decreased the incidence of depression, while DHA did not when compared to placebo. However, EPA and DHA were noted to significantly delay the onset of depression even though the DHA did not impact the incidence.”
Sure, you can up the amount of probiotic foods in your diet, but sometimes the gut still needs a hand. 5-HTP is one of the best supplements for depression because it helps the gut out with production of serotonin.
5-HTP is a byproduct of the amino acid, L-tryptophan. Yes, the hormone that gets us all sleepy on Thanksgiving. Speaking of, 5-HTP has shown to help regulate sleep in studies.
While sleep is a benefit of this supplement, it’s really all about the serotonin. 5-HTP synthesizes this joy hormone and allows serotonin to be readily available for the system. Supplementing with 5-HTP makes for less pressure on the gut and may help with mental health.
This is the 13th most abundant element on the earth. Yet, up to 80% of people are deficient in magnesium! Magnesium is essential to over 300 bodily functions. No wonder why we feel so stressed. Our body is stressed from picking up the slack due to a lack of magnesium.
One of magnesium’s main tasks? This mineral helps us absorb Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that 50% of us are lacking. Therefore, we are lacking two vitamins, including the one that’s supposed to help us break down a vitamin we’re lacking. You following? This is depressing.
Speaking of the devil. Hey, is that what the D is for? Anyway–we get most of our Vitamin D from the sun. In fact, the largest star is responsible for 90% of our Vitamin D intake. No wonder why most studies say that we feel less depressed when we are in nature.
Research on Vitamin D finds a direct correlation between mental health, nutrient deficiency, and not following a healthy gut diet plan. One meta-analysis concluded, “those groups who are at risk for vitamin D deficiency include the elderly, adolescents, obese individuals, and those with chronic illnesses (e.g., diabetes). Interestingly, it is these same groups that have also been reported to be at risk for depression.”
This is an amino acid that helps the brain trigger a neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is known as our calming neurotransmitter. It promotes relaxation throughout the system, ultimately lowering symptoms of anxiety and levels of cortisol.
In supplement form, our body has trouble absorbing GABA. That is why L-Theanine is one of the best supplements for depression. Our body can easily absorb this amino acid. In turn, it will facilitate the growth of GABA.
Our intestinal flora has a lot to do with our mental state. Therefore, you should dictate who is hanging out inside of you. The best way to achieve this is to join the Thryve Gut Health Program.
In the Thryve Gut Health Program, we send you a discreet at-home microbiome testing kit. You collect a sample and send it back with all the sanitary equipment we provide. From there, our specialists analyze the sample from your gut test kit to determine which stomach bacteria are in your system–the good and bad.
Based on the results from the gut bacteria test kit, we formulate personalized probiotics. That way, you are consuming a probiotic that is targeted to rebuild gut flora in your system.
As a result, your vagus nerve picks up a new message. This causes your mind to feel calmer, making probiotics one of the best supplements for depression.
Depression is a serious issue. Supplements are not the answer alone. If you are having any mental health issues, reach out to a professional immediately.