World Mental Health Day: Correlation between Mental Health and Gut

A person with good emotional, cognitive, behavioral, psychological, and social health and who can control stress and adapt to surroundings is said to have good mental health.
The gut-brain axis is a direct link between the two organs. It is a two-way conversation, and gut microbiota is very important. The Vagus nerve links the intestines with the brain (Pixabay)
The gut-brain axis is a direct link between the two organs. It is a two-way conversation, and gut microbiota is very important. The Vagus nerve links the intestines with the brain (Pixabay)

A person who has good emotional, cognitive, behavioral, psychological, biological, and social health and is able to control their stress and adapt to their surroundings is said to have good mental health. It can be described as a state of well-being in plain English.

What impact might eating have on mental health?

The gut-brain axis is a direct link between the two organs. It is a two-way conversation, and gut microbiota is very important. The Vagus nerve links the intestines with the brain. The nerve cannot directly interact with the microbiota since the epithelial barrier prevents it. However, the Vagus nerve signals that the gut microbiota sends to the neuropod cells are crucial.

This article discusses the connection between intestinal health and mental wellness.

Depression

The creation of neurotransmitters is directly influenced by the food we eat. Our food undergoes intricate metabolic processes and is absorbed mostly in the small intestine, where it is converted into neurotransmitters. One such instance is the production of serotonin from tryptophan, which is a nutritional source found in dairy products. As a result of everyday consumption of foods high in fat, which is very bad for health. According to studies, fat prevents serotonin, a neurotransmitter known as the "happy hormone," from forming. The hormone serotonin is crucial for digestion, sleep, mood, and sexual desire. Eating a lot of fat-rich foods may result in a reduction in serotonin production causing depression.

High levels of cortisol cause the gut to become more permeable, which allows the gut microbiota to penetrate the cells and incite an immunological response. It is known as the LEAKY GUT mechanism (Pixabay)
High levels of cortisol cause the gut to become more permeable, which allows the gut microbiota to penetrate the cells and incite an immunological response. It is known as the LEAKY GUT mechanism (Pixabay)

How can diet affect mental health?

Stress

Stress is another major factor in mental health conditions. Everyone experiences stress, but excessive stress can result in chronic illnesses.

When under stress, the balance between the gut and the brain is upset, which causes the HPA axis to become overactive (Hypothalamus-Pituitary axis). This changes cortisol's negative feedback loop, which causes cortisol production to increase. High levels of cortisol cause the gut to become more permeable, which allows the gut microbiota to penetrate the cells and incite an immunological response. It is known as the LEAKY GUT mechanism. Long-term, this could result in gastrointestinal illnesses, particularly Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome. A vicious loop is created when the IL-6 generated in response to inflammation again over activates the production of cortisol. Once more, stress promotes binge eating and obesity, both of which eventually result in depression.

The gut-brain axis is a direct link between the two organs. It is a two-way conversation, and gut microbiota is very important. The Vagus nerve links the intestines with the brain (Pixabay)
Wear and Tear from Lifelong Stress can Increase CANCER MORTALITY.

How can our gut understand our emotions?

Even our guts have feelings in them!

Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach, sometimes known as a gut-wrenching experience?

Butterflies in the stomach is a phrase that describes anxiety. This can happen in any situation, like the first time you see your crush.

Does this metaphor, therefore, suggest that we feel emotions in our stomachs? The answer to this would be a resounding "yes."

Serotonin can suddenly increase in the stomach when someone is tense or anxious, which can make them feel sick.

Here, butterflies represent the serotonin.

Gut is the center of the human body, the food we eat should always be nourishing it. It's necessary to have foods that support the gut microbiota, like probiotics, because it plays a critical role in how food is metabolized (Pixabay)
Gut is the center of the human body, the food we eat should always be nourishing it. It's necessary to have foods that support the gut microbiota, like probiotics, because it plays a critical role in how food is metabolized (Pixabay)

DIET

Our diet will support managing our emotions. Food is always important. Given that the gut is the center of the human body, the food we eat should always be nourishing it. It's necessary to have foods that support the gut microbiota, like probiotics, because it plays a critical role in how food is metabolized. A disruption of the gut's normal microbiota might result from eating unhealthful foods. Additionally, recent research has demonstrated how poor diet-related gut dysfunction can result in diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, etc.

The gut-brain axis is a direct link between the two organs. It is a two-way conversation, and gut microbiota is very important. The Vagus nerve links the intestines with the brain (Pixabay)
Gut microbes may lead to therapies for mental illness

How can I prevent mental illness?

The key factor influencing mental health is a lifestyle, which includes diet and everyday activities. Studies have shown that doing yoga and meditating can help people deal with their stress, despair, anxiety, and other emotions.

What ought to be a part of a diet?

A healthy diet is one that is balanced. The recommended levels of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals should be present. In addition, a number of additional characteristics like age and profession come into play. According to studies, the best foods are those that are high in fiber. Incorporating the necessary amount of water into our diets is another crucial step.

In conclusion, mental health affects our entire body in addition to the gut. Therefore, maintaining good mental health and eating a healthy, balanced diet is crucial.

Diet can be compared to an investment, and mental health to a bank account. Therefore, wise investments result in wise earnings.

REFERENCES

1) J. Douglas Bremner, Kasra Moazzami, Matthew T. Wittbrodt, Jonathon A. Nye, Bruno B. Lima, Charles F. Gillespie, Mark H. Rapaport, Bradley D. Pearce, Amit J. Shah, and Viola Vaccarino et al. Diet, Stress and Mental Health Published online 2020 Aug 13. 
2) Laurie A Manwell, Skye P Barbic, Karen Roberts, Zachary Durisko, Cheolsoon Lee, Emma Ware, and Kwame McKenzie et al. What is mental health? Evidence towards a new definition from a mixed methods multidisciplinary international survey.BMJ Open. 2015; 5(6): e007079. Published online 2015 Jun 2.  
3) Longsha Liu, Jun R. Huh, Khalid Shah et al. Microbiota and the gut-brain-axis: Implications for new therapeutic design in the CNS. Published: March 03, 2022

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