Understanding the Connection between Mental and Physical Health
The mind-body connection is a fascinating one. We’re able to see a direct impact on our mental health, when our physical health is poor, and vice versa.
It comes down to the thoughts we hold, how stressed we are, and our mental state, and how those can manifest in physical manner. A depiction of this, is how when we’re stressed, we’re more likely to get sick. Some patients with autoimmune concerns or chronic disease can have this remembering of a specific event or time period where stress was so high, they seem to be ’never well since’ that event.
Our physical health can also impact our mental health. One of the ways this can occur, is through a poor gut microbiome with overgrowth, leading to increased incidences of anxiety, depression, brain fog and even poor concentration. Let’s dive into this, how both your microbiome, and chronic inflammation, can impact our mental state.
Your gut microbiome has direct connections to your anxiety and depression.
Digestive health is essential for over all wellness, unfortunately underestimated at times in conventional medicine. Wrongfully so, as wellness begins in the gut.
The way our brains and gut start out when we’re an embryo, is from the same point, with one system migrating up (our brain) and one system going down (our gut). With this history of being one and the same, there remains this bi-direction highway, where the two systems are in constant communication with each other. This explains why when we address digestive health in patients with gut concerns, we almost always see a positive alteration in mood and mental state. “My IBS has improved, and oddly enough, so has my anxiety!” We know the gut to hold trillions of friendly bacteria, with direct communication to the brain – with the majority of communication being from the gut to the brain. So you can imagine, when we’re seeing dysbiosis, or an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, this is going to have some level of impact on brain and cognition.
Inflammation is impacting your mental health.
Inflammation can be the result of an autoimmune concern, food sensitivity, or really any health concern that is triggering an inappropriate response from the immune system.
Sixty percent of our immune system is in the gut. The immune system is so heavily linked with the digestive tract, that any problem the digestive system comes in contact with, the immune cells are ready to take action. When we witness a leaky gut phenomena, where the tight junctions in the gut lining become more porous, this is where we run into problems. A more porous digestive lining, means we’re more likely to see an increased exposure of the food to our immune cells, which can increase the frequently at which food sensitivities may develop. When this happens, an inflammatory cascade can occur – either mildly or more extreme, in some cases – each time the food with the sensitivity is consumed.
We know generalized inflammation to be one of the leading contributors to chronic disease, making our attempts to lessen it, ever so important. This includes leading to increased mental health concerns, like anxiety, low moods, and depression. By tackling inflammation and supporting optimal digestive health, we can really start to pave the way for improved mental health.
We hope you start to noticed the benefits of improved mental health, by way of supporting your digestive health.
Ps! We’re so excited for the launch of The Health Collective, designed to help our patients reach their goals and stick to them. To learn more, give Sarah a call at Health Over All or book a FREE Alignment Call here.
The Health Over All Team