Have you ever felt so depressed that you can’t seem to shake out of negative thought patterns to the point the negativity keeps snowballing worse and worse? Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many times you shift your thoughts to positive ones, it seems to snap back into a black hole of despair.
I have been in this situation more times than I would like to count. I was trying so hard to be a positive person, but so much negative crap just kept happening to keep me knocked down.
The depression and anxiety started in my early teen years and became much worse in my 20’s. I was on numerous different anti-depressants that led to me on a roller coaster of emotions as they switched me from one med to another because I was getting worse not better. They kept raising my doseges and then switching me to a “new better drug” that was being marketed by big pharma at the time.
After 8 years of various psych & anti-depression meds, I finally weaned off them all. I went to a psychologist and a hypnotherapist. I received Reiki treatments. All of it helped for a little bit, but then I would find myself right back where I started with the depression and anxiety.
It wasn’t until I found out I had Celiac Disease in 2006 when the depression finally started to dissipate. You would think being diagnosed with Celiac, which is a severe allergy to gluten, would create more depression.
I really started to study gluten and what it does to the digestion and the rest of the body. I am now even certified in Glutenology.
Here is a little scientific background on how gut health and mental health are connected.
The Body Has 2 Brains
Many people don’t realize that the stomach is connected with the Brain. The gut has its own brain. It has way more neurons than the actual brain on the top of the head.
Our gut brain is often called our Belly Brain. The real term is called Enteric Nervous System or ENS. The ENS lays under the mucosal lining between the muscular layers of the esophagus, the stomach and the small and large intestines.
In the past, doctors & scientists had only thought that neuropeptides and neurochemicals were only found in the brain. Recently, studies have shown that these neuropeptides and neurochemicals are also found in the gut brain too. So these chemicals are found in BOTH the ENS belly brain and the CNS (Central Nervous System) of the brain on top of head.
Another fascinating oddity is that the both the CNS and ENS both go through slow wave sleep frequencies for 90 minutes then followed by REM sleep where dreams are produced. The ENS also has a nightly cycle of 90-minute slow wave muscular contractions, followed by brief spurts of rapid muscular contraction. In other words, your stomach also goes into a REM state like the brain. This means that proven scientifically, the stomach and the brain are connected by sharing same chemicals and patterns.
When we have low gut flora (good bacteria) caused by numerous different things, it can create mental imbalances.
One thing that causes digestion and gut flora to go wonky is gluten.
What Gluten Does To The Body
I have done tons of research on gut health. Gluten is a HUGE contributing factor to destroying the gut. Many people feel that they do not have a gluten allergy or sensitivity because they feel they aren’t having a digestion reaction. It doesn’t have to be a known reaction in the digestion to cause brain fog, irritability, depression, anxiety, and so many other mental illnesses. Our Standard American Diet otherwise known as the SAD Diet has been known to be the root cause in mental illnesses in the USA. The foods and other products that the FDA are allowed to pass as real food in quite frightening. Mental instability such as depression, anxiety, poor stress response, Autism, PTSD, and Bi-Polar is at its highest this country has seen. These things can actually be stemmed from gluten and gut damage. It can also be reversed without pharmaceutical medications or invasive surgeries. You can achieve this just by detoxing the body, adding probiotics, omitting gluten and other harmful things from your diet.
Gluten Is Not The Only Culprit For Gut Damage
There is so much more information available to us with the gut/brain correlation. There is a fascinating article that I found explaining the correlation between poor gut health and poor mental health. The article is called “Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health. The gut-brain axis” written by Megan Clapp from Dept of Psychiatry, Health Sciences Center, Texas Tech University.
The article states that they have found all kinds of evidence during research that when a person has anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses that they found that those people all also have an inflamed gut and/or very low gut flora. Once given a heavy dose of probiotics then the brain responded in a positive way by healing mental illnesses.
In other research, they have found that early in life infections in the body can affect the mucosal membrane in the GI tract, disrupting the ENS, and thus it interferes with the normal brain development from the infant and childhood years. The mucosal membrane can also be altered in other ways, such as through poor diet, PTSD, small amounts of antibiotic use, heavy metals in vaccines, radiation and chemotherapy.
Heal the Gut, Heal the Brain
The good news is that we can correct a lot of these conditions over time, just like I did. Depending on how much gut damage has been done depends on how long the healing process can take. Some people can heal in only 2-3 months. People with Celiac Disease or other auto-immune disorders can take from 6 months to a year to properly heal.
Anxiety and depression start to dissipate quickly. Learning how to handle and respond to stress in your life and stress around your eating can have a profound healing effect on your body and mental health. Correcting the gut health can also reverse many food allergies or sensitives. When your gut is inflamed, your body negatively starts to respond to many other kinds of foods. This is why it is common for people with allergies to have all kinds of new allergies added to the NO NO list over time. They are not correcting the core issue in the gut. Omitting inflammatory mucus causing foods has a HUGE impact on your mental health!
Even though I have Celiac, I can now get away with eating tiny bits of gluten. Before, I was not able to have anything cooked in the same pan or my eyes would swell shut for 48 hours along the feeling of a porcupine being in my stomach. I would get super angry and irritable, especially because it would put me in severe pain and put me out of commission for at least 2 days if not a week.
With my clients, I have them do a detox, omit certain foods and poor eating practices. They start eating healthier and restoring gut flora. We also dig into the emotions factors that can be contributing to the mental imbalance. It can be as simple as a trauma being held in the subconscious that keep the body in a constant state of flight or flight response. I have seen such a solid breakthrough with clients once they got rid of the junk, build the gut flora and work on the root cause.
Don’t ever lose hope on healing your body or mental state! Your body is your temple. No sense in having a crazy person in your brain running the sacred temple!
If you are interested in working with me to restore your gut and mental health through Nutrition Intutitive Coaching, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be In Joy & Health!