Our 2nd Brain: The Gut Microbiome
Thousands of studies have now shown the direct correlations between the health of our gut and the health of our brain. If we want to overcome mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, or addiction then we must heal our gut.
Our gut - the small and large intestine - contains 100 trillion bacteria, also called microbiota, that make up the 'gut microbiome'. Many of these bacteria are critical for our physical and emotional well-being. Our gut also contains over 100 million neurons and is now being called our '2nd brain'. Our gut and brain communicate and determine the health of one another.
What Harms the Gut
Antibiotics, pesticides, processed sugar, artificial sweeteners, and many more environmental and nutritional toxins kill good bacteria and compromise our physical and mental health. These have been linked to anxiety, depression, ADHD, and addiction.
Among other harmful impacts, these toxins are shown to kill good bacteria and cause inflammation in the body and brain. This leads to what is called 'leaky gut', or increased intestinal permeability, which is significantly linked to autoimmune disease, cancer, and mental illness.
For a more comprehensive list of what harms and kills good gut bacteria, click here.
What Heals the Gut
Prebiotic, probiotic, and recently termed 'postbiotic' foods and supplements heal gut inflammation, building up our beneficial bacteria. This leads to the balance of hormones, improvement of digestion, and the improvement of a plethora of other health factors.
When we consume prebiotic, probiotic, and postbiotic foods and supplements, our gut bacteria is further diversified and inflammation is decreased in the gut, body, and brain.
Consuming these foods and supplements is shown, in various studies, to be an effective treatment for mental illness and to improve energy, focus, and overall mental well-being.