Stress, Anxiety & Your Microbiome
The above quote is attributed to ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, over 2,000 years ago. Millenia later, with modern science, it may be said that the gut microbiome is the key to (good) health, not merely digestive health but general health. In this newsletter we will look at the relationship between the gut microbiome and stress. We will explore how stress negatively impacts the body as a result of less than ideal microbiome health.
Probiotics are the key to a healthy microbiome. The role of these friendly bacteria is to protect the host (that's you). From enhancing immune health through a variety of mechanisms to protecting the host from toxins entering the circulatory system to assisting in the creation of certain B vitamins, these bacterial buddies do nothing but help us. Immune health is not limited to probiotic bacteria, but a healthy immune system is dependent upon a healthy microbiome.
This term will refer to a disturbance in the (beneficial) microbes which reside on and in the body (our skin and gastrointestinal tract). In other words, a loss of beneficial microorganisms and a growth of potentially harmful microbes — a loss of diversity.
Stress & Gut Dysbiosis
Stress affects the gut in multiple ways. One of the most deleterious effects is impairment of the immune system. As the immune system is primarily located in the mucosal wall, an imbalance of the microbiome resulting in an overabundance of pathogenic bacteria, for instance, will interfere with the immune system. Other factors influencing gut dysbiosis are environmental pollutants, noise, crowding, excess heat, de-regulated sleep cycles and sedentary behavior. These may be seen as stressors, in addition to classic psychological stress.
Cortisol & Gut Permeability Effects
Stress has the unpleasant effect of increasing gut permeability. The stress hormone, cortisol, acts directly on the gut wall to do this. This increase in gut permeability allows inflammatory, pathogenic and foreign compounds into the bloodstream, setting the stage for degenerative diseases. Resulting inflammation causes physical stress in the body, furthering the cycle. In addition, cortisol also acts to damage or change beneficial bacterial strains, unbalancing the gut microbiome.
Maintaining a healthy gut lining reduces toxins and supports the peak functioning of gut immune cells. The gut-brain axis produces/stimulates the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. When the gut is inflamed or in an unhealthy state, production of these neurotransmitters is compromised. Thus, stress may create stress, seeing as the gut-brain is a two-way system. Impairment of this production may lead to depression. Administration of probiotics may therefore improve these conditions.
Be My Guest
Evergreen carries several probiotic formulas that are specifically designed to support emotional and immune health for you, the host. As an added bonus, all three of these companies are Certified B Corporation companies.
Mood Support Probiotic from New Chapter offers 6 billion CFU (the clinically studied amount) of Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001. It nourishes a healthy gut-brain connection and helps release feel-good compounds to promote a healthy mood as well as immune function and gut health. Additional mood support comes from calming herbs: passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile and lavender — all organic. Rounding out the formula is inulin (from organic Jerusalem artichoke) to nourish your probiotic guests.
Genuine Health's Women's Advanced Gut Health Probiotic Mood has 50 billion CFUs (colony forming units) from 15 strains that support mood and mental outlook. Included are Lactobacillus gasseri for reducing anxiety, improving mood and sleep quality, L. salivarius for improved thoughts and mental outlook. It also contains Extramel™ melon juice concentrate for antioxidant defense and reducing stress and fatigue.
Dr. Formulated Probiotics Mood + 50 Billion from Garden of Life comes two ways: refrigerated and shelf stable. Both formulas offer 16 strains and 50 billion CFUs plus 350 mg organic Stress Support Blend from adaptogenic ashwagandha and antioxidant-rich berries. Our microbiome buddies are supported with organic potato (resistant starch) and organic acacia fiber.
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The information provided here is for educational purposes only. None of the research or evidence presented here is intended as a substitute for consulting an appropriate healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you believe that you may have a disease condition, please consult your healthcare practitioner before using this or any other dietary supplement.
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