Gut & Psychology!

I just love days like this!  My kitchen is cleaned up, the laundry is whirring away in the dryer, the kids are at school, and I have time to curl up in my yoga pants on my couch with a cup of tea to write.  What makes it even better is that it is cold and raining outside making my couch at home the only place I want to be right now. So today, I want to share with you some of the things that I’ve been learning as I seek to provide a happy and healthy environment for my family. 

Almost every time I am working in the store, I have questions like, “What can I do about my anxiety!  I am SO stressed out!  I can’t fall asleep at night because I keep thinking and thinking and my mind just WON’T STOP.”  Even worse for me is when I have a parent or spouse telling me, in tears, about a loved one that is battling depression.  My heart goes out to each and every one of you that is fighting the battle of anxiety or depression.  I have been there!  I truly do understand.  I personally struggled with anxiety and depression following the birth of my second child.  I have also watched as someone close to me struggled so deeply that words cannot even begin to express the heartache of watching them and, at the time, not knowing what I could possibly do to help them.  Why, you might ask, are so many people battling depression and anxiety?  It seems that we hear about this often!  First of all, let’s talk about the different kinds of depression and anxiety. There is depression and anxiety that is brought on by a particular situation.  Maybe the death of a loved one or the loss of a job.  Maybe it is living with someone who is battling cancer or some other chronic disease or even getting a diagnosis of a life altering illness.  Maybe anxiety is brought on by being plain old too busy!  Those are situations that might be temporary or situational.  Then there is clinical depression and anxiety as well as postpartum depression and anxiety.  I put those together because I believe those can be addressed similarly from a holistic perspective.   

We have all experienced butterflies in our stomachs before an interview or speech, right?  Or that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you think you forgot to turn the iron off before leaving for work. Why does that happen?  Scientist have referred to our gut as our “second brain” because there are around 30 neuro receptors in our digestive system, particularly in the small intestine. Between 80% and 90% of serotonin, the “feel good” hormone is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin is responsible for maintaining mood balance and when we become deficient in serotonin, depression often occurs. Did you know that serotonin even plays a role in bowel function?  When you eat something toxic, more serotonin is produced to help your body rid itself of that toxin through diarrhea!  Who knew that something that can make you feel SO good can also make you feel SO bad!  The reverse side of that is when we don’t produce enough serotonin therefore we can have issues like constipation and hard stool.   

If our digestive system  plays such a big role in our Serotonin production and regulation, how else might repairing our digestive system affect our mood and ability to function without problems like depression and anxiety?  How do we create a friendly environment for the proper production and regulation of serotonin and other feel good hormones? How do we make sure that our bodies are equipped to handle situational anxiety and depression adequately? Well, I’d love to answer these questions in this blog, but the clothes in the dryer are ready to be folded and my kids and husband would probably like some dinner so my time for writing is up today!  I will write more on another rainy day and I will do all I can to answer those questions for you.  If you want to hear an entire presentation on the relationship between Gut Health and Psychological Health then come on out to Natural Options on Thursday evening! We will have hot tea, some yummy flavored bone broth, and some great conversation answering all these questions about your Gut Health!  AND we will offer 15% off all GUT related supplements!  There MAY even been some FREE prizes!  Call Natural Options to save your space!

{Written by Michelle Kunselman, our Colon Hydrotherapist, here at Natural Options!}