The relationship between your gut and your brain is unique. In fact, your gut is lined with more than 100 million nerve cells and houses more than 70% of your immune system, thus classifying it as the “second brain.” Your gut communicates with your brain all the time, telling it when it’s time to release hormones in the bloodstream and notifying you when it’s hungry. As researchers and doctors learn more about the gut-brain connection, they’re finding that the gut and the brain communicate through a neural circuit that transmits messages in mere seconds.

Just like your brain, the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to all of the emotions you feel, including anxiety. That’s why you often feel a stirring in your bowels as well as a fog in your brain when you’re anxious. The two are communicating and getting ready for a flight or fight response. Here at Grey Matters of Carmel, we understand this brain-gut connection all too well, and our neurofeedback training has helped many in their battle with their leaky gut.

Leaky Gut Explained

As more research is done, doctors learn that the gut and digestive issues directly correlate to anxiety, mood swings, depression, and more. Many of these issues stem from a leaky gut when the tight junctions in your intestines stretch too thin and begin to leak. This allows pathogens, outside toxins from food, and undigested particles to break through the intestinal wall and get into your bloodstream.

As it pertains to anxiety, some studies have shown that an imbalance in the gut bacteria and inflammation can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. When these toxins leak from your intestines, the inflammatory response is triggered, and your gut becomes an imbalanced home of microbiomes. A leaky gut can also impair your sleep schedule and your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, further stressing your brain and body and causing anxiety.

Leaky Gut Symptoms

Yes, there could be many factors contributing to your anxiety, but the easiest way to identify the source is to start with what you know and how you’re feeling. If you have a leaky gut, you could experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Poor immune health
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Sugar cravings
  • Joint pain
  • Skin health issues
  • Headaches
  • Autoimmune diseases

If you’re living with more than one symptom on this list, then it might be time to talk to your doctor about leaky gut and seek neurofeedback therapy that can help restore balance to both your brain and your intestines.

Three Ways to Manage a Healthy Gut

1. Revamp Your Diet

Knowing which foods contribute to a healthy gut and which ones don’t is the first step in reducing your anxiety and leaky gut symptoms. Instead of consuming foods high in sugar or fats, look for foods made from whole grains, natural sugars, and omega-3 fatty acids. Collagen-boosting foods are also perfect for balanced gut health and can be found in bone broth and salmon. Incorporate some high-fiber foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, oats, peas, avocados, and bananas, and you’ll be well on your way to a revamped diet that’s better for your brain and your gut.

2. Consume Probiotics & Prebiotics

Probiotics and prebiotics are essential for a happy and healthy gut environment. Probiotics are the good bacteria you need to have in your gut to digest food and absorb nutrients properly, while prebiotics feed that good bacteria. Therefore, you need a healthy mix of both in your stomach to achieve balance. Some probiotic-rich foods include sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, high-quality yogurt, and kombucha. You can find prebiotics in asparagus, onions, garlic, and leeks.

3. Rest & Digest

Good digestion is a crucial part of managing a healthy gut. When you don’t allow yourself to rest and digest after a meal, your body can’t produce the gastric juices necessary to break down foods and extract the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed. This means that by the time your food makes it to your intestines, there’s not much to absorb, which can lead to fatigue, headaches, anxiety, and depression. So, before or after a meal, try some deep breathing exercises to help prepare your gut and relax your body for a more beneficial mealtime.

We Can Help Restore Your Gut

There is no other system in your body as sensitive to change as your gut. With neurofeedback training and proper nutrition, Grey Matters of Carmel helps people improve their gut-related illnesses by balancing the activity in the brain. When your brain feels good, you tend to eat a more healthy diet. When your diet is healthier, your gut is healthier. And when your gut is healthy and happy, your brain is healthy and happy. So, if you suspect that your gut could be the cause of your mental health concern, call us at (317) 215-7208 and schedule your appointment!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels