Mental Health & Gut Health: Yes, They Are One In The Same

YoFitUSA News

“You are what you eat”. What a great phrase to start off this blog post! Typically, when we say this sentence we are referring to physicality. For example, how your diet affects your physique. However, what we eat doesn’t just affect our physical body, it also affects our mental health. Here at YoFiT, we regularly express the importance of taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. We reference this saying not just because it sounds cool and is motivating, but because it is something we fully believe in and how we choose to live our lives each and every day. 

I have to say, when I began doing more and more research on the topic of gut health, my head started spinning. I did my best to break down these studies in the most simplistic way, but if you’d like to do more research, I linked my statements below to their given articles and/or websites.

Michael D. Gershon, Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology, is often referred to as the “Father of Neurogastroenterology” because he discovered that we have ‘a second brain’ which lives inside our gut. He found that there are nerve cells in the gut that act just like a brain, crazy! Due to his findings, we can better understand the different discomforts we have internally and how what we consume nutrition wise plays a key role in our mental health. We now know that a major leading reason as to why our gut health and mental health are intertwined is a result of Dysbios. 

Dysbios is a microbial imbalance or maladaptation on or inside the body. Before you think too much into it, just know that Dysbios can be treated by incorporating Probiotics into your diet. Probiotics help make up for any imbalances that are found in the gut. So what does this mean? How does this relate to our brain? Well, illness is thought to begin when there is deregulation of these systems. Illness can largely be attributed to cytokine release secondary to an exaggerated systemic response to stressors. Cytokine release is a signal molecule that causes our cells to experience inflammation. This can be referred to as pro-inflammatory cytokines.  Pro-inflammatory cytokines are involved in the process of pathological pain. Literal pathological pain. “Dysbiosis and inflammation of the gut have been linked to causing several mental illnesses.” 

Let’s take a look at a common mental health disorder, Depression.

Depression can be a small voice in your head that makes it hard to get out of bed or perform daily activities, it can also be the reason you stop doing what you love and what makes you happy. It’s a deadly disease that has taken the lives of all too many and has become even more prevalent since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is why I wanted to dive into the understanding of our mental health and how we can combat it. 

As explained in the study, Gut Microbiota’s Effect on Mental Health: The Gut-brain Axis, ”Depressive disorders are characterized by both neuroplastic, organizational changes, and neurochemical dysfunction. Illness is thought to begin when there is deregulation of these systems and can largely be attributed to cytokine release secondary to an exaggerated systemic response to stressors”. Going back to the solution of gut imbalances, think Probiotics. Probiotics help suppress the inflammation that is caused from the cytokine release, the ripple effect which in turn keeps our brain ‘balanced’.

Illnesses like Anxiety and Depression can occur as a result of chemical imbalances throughout the body and brain. So for those of you who are looking to better yourselves and/or find those ‘natural solutions’, changing up your nutrition might be a good place to start. 

Staci Burland, founder and manager of YoFiT, understands how important it is to take care of yourself internally, mentally not just physically. She took her passion for health and nutrition one step further and went back to school to become a certified Nutrition Coach so she can better help her clients with their mental and physical health. She is so excited to be introducing her New Nutrition Coaching Program here at YoFiT! If you want to know more about gut health and how she can help build you a customized nutrition program to fit your lifestyle, give us a call at 760.585.5239 or email us at info@yofitusa.com

I know you can do whatever you put your mind to. No more excuses, just go out and do it! Transform.

With light and love,

Sophia