How do gut and bacteria affect your mood?
It’s interesting. All the years that I practiced as a naturopath, I had this strong feeling that gut health had a significant impact on mood. I saw the relationship quite early on in my practice.
I noticed years ago that people who ate vegetables, lean meats, fruit, seeds and nuts, and whole grains with only light alcohol consumption had a much better mood than those eating potato chips, pizza, and soda pop. People who ate a lot of junk tended to be much more depressed.
Scientists are now validating my observations.
I think one of the first people that noticed the link between the GI tract and mood was a doctor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Dr. Sven Peterson is an experimental biologist who made the connection between the gut and the brain way back in the 1980s or 90s.
Now, I’m excited by all the different research institutions which are researching the impact of the microbiome on mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
Dr. Cray is a scientist who has compiled a list of about 60 substances in the gut that impact neural response. We know that that a lot of the bacteria in the gut produce chemicals that affect nerve endings. These chemicals can influence whether your mood is good or bad.
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There are gut bacteria called Dialister and Coprococcus that can influence the brain.
Coprococcus produces butyrate, an anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acid. Coprococcus also can impact the dopaminergic pathway, which is the pleasure pathway in our brain. In other words, this bacteria may be able to make people feel better.
We don’t know yet what factors are causative and what factors are just associated. But we can say there is a connection between the gut flora and our brain.
That’s the reason I tell people to avoid artificial sweeteners. I recommend getting rid of all the junk in your diet.
If you eat junk, you’re going to feel awful. If you eat great food, you’re going to look and feel great.
Eat well, feel well. That’s a motto worth following.