You Have The Power to Transform Your Life. To Find Out How – Keep Reading…
If you struggle with depression or anxiety, you probably know that there’s a pretty good chance you’ve inherited that tendency from others in your family line. But you don’t have to feel helpless about that. There is so much you can do to change your DNA influencers through your own personal gut microbiome.
Since your microbiome has over a hundred times more genes than your human DNA, you actually have about 99% of your genetic material that you can alter in your favor. Then, your gut bacteria will provide positive genetic impact for your health and well-being.
And the good news is, you can actually manipulate your gut microbiome DNA to alter your mood, your outlook, and your overall mental and physical wellness.
The gut microbiome definition from the dictionary is:
the combined genetic material of the microorganisms in the intestinal environment of any human which creates an eco-system to help that person’s body perform functions it couldn’t perform without them.
So, let’s talk about the things you can do to change the environment in your gut, and by so doing, change the bacteria that live there to help and support you. Rather than make you sick, these bacteria will boost your immune system, your emotional outlook, and your mental stability. A strong start in this quest is to take the following proactive actions:
1. Delete Sugar and Processed Foods From Your Life
I know this sounds extreme, and will take some getting used to. But the fact is that the sugar in your diet is feeding bacteria and fungi that are out to hurt you. Candida albicans is an example of a fungus that lives in your gut and does all sorts of damage. The more sugar you eat, the more the fungus is fed and grows. One piece of bread made from processed flour can be rushed through your stomach and small intestines quickly, without the aid of many of your microorganisms in your gut. That leaves your bacteria hungry and they start eating at the lining of your intestines, causing perforations and leakage.
Processed foods and sugar wreak havoc on your microbiome and those bad bacteria increase your depression. The problem with sugar is that it helps the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria. Deleting sugar from your life allows the good bacteria to take the lead again. The result is that you’ll feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically.
2. Eat More Plants and Dietary Fiber –
especially green leafy vegetables – This is to increase the variety and diversity of organisms in your microbiome. That gives the good gut organisms plenty to snack on so they’ll become strong and established. Eating lots of fiber leads to a clearer mind and more upbeat outlook. Look for opportunities to eat 35-40 g of dietary fiber every day.
3. Limit Antibiotics
Antibiotics kill everything in your microbiome. They don’t know how to distinguish good from bad. Certainly there are times when an antibiotic is necessary, such as in cases of life-threatening infections. But as much as possible, build up a strong immunity in your microbiome and let your built-in immunity do the fighting. A course of antibiotics can result in setting your good bacteria back a year. Then it has to be rebuilt. The tips listed here will go a long way toward building your own personal microbiome into a fortress of immunity.
4. Play in the Dirt –
Get dirty. It’s wonderful for the development and diversification of healthy bacteria in your gut microbiome. Our sanitized culture is killing us…and driving us insane…as crazy as that sounds. Certain lactobacillus strains are common in house dust, and the dust caused by pets. A house with a dog has been found to contain many of the healing microbes we need that homes without pets don’t have. Experts encourage reducing use of household cleaners that obliterate organisms like chlorine and lysol. Then, replace them with lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, and even castile soap. This allows your good bacteria to grow all around you. Gardening is wonderful for cultivating healthy bacteria, it provides exercise, and the soil is chock full of healing microbes. So dig in!
5. Take Probiotics –
but not just any probiotics. Lactobacillus helviticus and bifidobacterium longum are effective in reducing cortisol, the stress hormone. They also work together to reduce inflammation. Some others that reduce inflammation are bifidobacterium infantis and lactobacillus reuteri, which also help to curb overeating by sending signals to the brain that the appetite is satisfied. B. infantis and others also produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine and improve your state of mind, just like an antidepressant. These work through the immune system, while others act directly on the nerve cell to influence your state of mind.
An example is lactobacillus acidophilus – found in kimchee, yogurt, and sauerkraut – which acts on the pain receptors in the spinal cord to regulate pain. Further, since mental processing that’s associated with depression is linked to deficiency in GABA, a neurotransmitter, strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium can turn around the repetitious dark mullings that are common with depressed persons. Lactobacillus rhamnosus then builds and strengthens GABA receptors, and working through the vagus nerve reduces anxiety and depression.
Use the organisms listed above as a preliminary checklist when you choose a probiotic.
Each of these is specifically targeted at your brightened outlook and wellbeing.
6. Eat Fermented Foods –
Kimchee, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, and kefir… as these contain strains of lactobacillus acidophilus, L. reuteri, and others that help your frame of mind and pain regulation. Eating fermented foods is the best thing you can do for your gut microbiome, as it provides a broad range of bacteria that are useful to your physical and emotional wellbeing.
7. Reduce Stress + Exercise –
Only you can choose to make changes to your lifestyle that reduce your stress. Understand that when you feel stressed your body releases chemicals that signal your body to release cytokines, which cause inflammation. If you stay stressed, such as from a job that keeps you constantly worried about deadlines, or reactions from co-workers, those inflammation signals keep going out to your body, and inflammation continues to get worse. Then, if the immune system keeps overacting, it breaks down your immune system and your gut microbiome with it. The result of an imbalanced immune system is autoimmune diseases, Crohn’s diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcerative colitis-to name a few. To give your microbiome the best environment for growing strong and broad-spectrumed, is to practice relaxing…and get good at it.
8. Get Consistent and Restful Sleep –
Weird as it may sound, the gut microbiome has its own circadian rhythms. Cortisol levels increase in the mornings, and then gut bacteria stop production of cytokines. When you get a good 8 hours sleep, it keeps the gut bacteria on their routine. But, if the bacteria are disrupted, you experience insomnia. The circadian rhythm of the bacteria becomes your sleep habits, too.
9. Sweat –
Your gut microbiome thrives when you get physical. Studies have demonstrated that athletes have a far more diverse microbiome than average citizens. More research has revealed that in addition to diverse pro-bacteria, athletes also have increased intestinal peristalsis with improved immune systems and metabolism.
10. Eat Less Red Meat –
Studies have shown red meat is associated with the microbiota or bad bacteria that cause inflammation, negative mood changes, and heart disease. Stick to fish and poultry, and pile up your plate with green leafy veggies. Your microbiome will love it.
11. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol disrupts the balance of “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria. The delicate balance in the gut microbiome can be destroyed by too much alcohol. And the result is that the bad health-harming bacteria grow out of control, dominating the good. Diseases, mental illness, digestive problems, and more can be attributed to this imbalance. Not only does alcohol introduce sugar into the system, but in addition can cause perforation of the intestine, leading to leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory changes in the liver and other organs.
12. Take Gut Microbiome Supporting Supplements
like CoQ10, carotenoids, omega-3 fish oil, selenium. Add antioxidants like Vitamins C, D, and E to enhance microbiota gut health.
Garden your personal gut microbiome and cultivate joy!
Your own personal microbiome is your private garden for health and wellbeing. Cultivate strong health-promoting organisms in it, and you’ll experience wellbeing in mind and body like never before. Ignore it and indulge in foods and activities that cause imbalance – and the weeds take over. Your entire life will be burdened with the results. Remember, the gut microbiome definition makes it clear that without these symbiotic organisms working for us, our bodies and emotions could not do the things they do. So feed and care for them
Print this post and display it on your refrigerator, to remind you of the benefits of eating gut-friendly foods, taking gut-friendly supplements, and working out for improvements that help you become a healthier, happier, human.
If you struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders, and haven’t experienced relief with treatment, contact us to schedule an appointment for a thorough evaluation. You may be a candidate for innovative and advanced psychiatric treatment such as IV ketamine, or TMS, which have both been remarkably effective for many patients.
Let’s work together
Work on the methods in this post to manipulate your microbiota in your gut environment, and undergo one of these innovative treatments. When you do, the likelihood is high that you can enjoy a satisfying and rewarding life again. We look forward to meeting you and working together with you to restore you to your best self.
To your ever-improving health and restoration to your best self,
Lori Calabrese, MD