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The Gut & Mood Link: 5 Things You Need to Know

  • 3 min read

You’re feeling good: your gut is humming along smoothly and you’re happy. There’s a reason for this, say researchers. 

It turns out that the state of the gut can determine whether we’re feeling happy or depressed. When the gut is out of balance, say we’re constipated, bloated, and/or gassy, this can send signals to our brain via something called the gut-brain axis. This is a scientific word to describe the communication pathway that directly connects the gut to the brain. 

With this in mind, here are 5 things you need to know about the gut and mood link: 


    1. Your gut has its own nervous system. It’s called the enteric nervous system. It’s made up of about 600 million nerve cells throughout the gut. These nerve cells or neurons control everything the gut does. These neurons are also constantly sending signals to the brain, and the brain is constantly sending signals back down to the nerve cells. This is what’s referred to as the gut-brain axis.


        2. Being constipated can affect how you feel. Researchers have found that being constipated can make you feel depressed. They believe that being backed up causes the enteric nervous system to send signals to the brain affecting how you feel. In fact, the researchers found that if you’re constipated, you have a 48% higher risk of feeling depressed.

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            3. What’s in the gut matters. The gut microbiota or microorganisms play a big role in the functioning of the enteric nervous system. If these microorganisms are out of balance, it can make us more anxious or depressed. It can also affect how we react to stress. This is why having enough good bacteria or probiotics is so important.

              You can find good bacteria in fermented and cultured foods like yogurt with live cultures, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. You can also get good bacteria from supplements like Poobiotics, made with 10 billion good-for-the-gut bacteria. 


                4. Fiber plays a key role. Fiber keeps you regular and prevents constipation. But certain types of fiber, namely insoluble fiber, go a step further. Insoluble fiber is a prebiotic fiber, so it serves as food for beneficial gut bacteria. It’s found in whole grains like oatmeal, nuts and seeds, and fruits with edible peels.

                  Insoluble fiber helps to create something called short-chain fatty acids in the gut. Short-chain fatty acids stimulate gut cells to increase production of the feel-good hormone serotonin.  

                  In fact, 95% of the body’s feel-good hormone serotonin is produced in the gut. It’s serotonin that helps to regulate your mood. Healthy serotonin levels have also been linked to better sleep. 

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                    5. It’s not all in your head. If you’re feeling down lately, you may want to look at your gut’s health. Gas, bloating, constipation, and indigestion can all be signs that you need to take steps to get your gut back in balance. 

                      But know this: You can make positive changes in your gut with the right steps. How long does it take to make the gut healthier? Relieving constipation can happen overnight, so that’s often the first step in what we call The Happy Gut Journey. Repopulating the gut with healthy bacteria and fiber can happen within days of consistent good gut health habits. But with every change you make, you may find you feel more optimistic, more joyful, and more hopeful in what life has to offer. And helping you be happy and healthy is what makes us, at NBPure, happy!