Depression? Feeling Down? How is your Digestive Health?
The Gastrointestinal tract has a wide-reaching impact on your digestive health and overall health including states of depression. Whether or not we have a healthy gut tract determines on how well we absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat. Conditions such as depression, cancer, and autoimmune conditions are all linked to imbalances of the gut tract. In the past few decades, the average American diet has changes to a high sugar, low fiber diet. This type of diet is extremely detrimental for the healthy bacteria that live in our gut tracts.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology there are 2.5 million Doctors visits per year in the U.S. and hundreds of millions of dollars are spend each year on laxatives due to digestive health issues.
These healthy bacteria, known as probiotics, are necessary for us to sustain life. Not only is it necessary to have enough probiotics in the gut tract, but the balance of certain strains of probiotics is necessary for good gut and digestive health. The American College of Gastroenterology also states the probiotics function to:
- Boost your immune system by producing antibodies for certain viruses.
- Produce substances that prevent infection.
- Prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to the gut wall and growing there.
- Send signals to your cells to strengthen the mucus in your intestine and help it act as a barrier against infection.
- Inhibit or destroy toxins released by certain “bad” bacteria that can make you sick.
- Produce B vitamins necessary for metabolizing the food you eat, warding off anemia caused by deficiencies in B-6 and B-12, and maintaining healthy skin and a healthy nervous system.”
It is no surprise that depression has increased dramatically in the last few decades because serotonin, a powerful hormone that gives us a feeling of well-being, is created in the gut tract. With the changes in the American diet, less serotonin is produced and then depressive conditions tend to be created. This does not happen overnight, but trends over a period of years until the person has coping difficulties. Often times, they are prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) to combat the depression. Taking the prescription can help the person feel better in the short term, but the cause of the problem remains unless gut tract repair takes place. Digestive health has an impact on your overall health.
About 70% of our entire immune system exists in the gut tract. People with compromised immune systems likely have an imbalance in the gut tract. The same is true for people with auto-immune diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis, Crohns Disease, Celiac’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Many doctors are finally making the connection that these conditions should not be treated by pharmaceuticals alone, but need to take steps to repair the gut. Often times, when the gut is repaired, the patient can wean off their medication or even discontinue their medication.
Just as destruction of the gut tract does not happen overnight, it may take up to 18 months to repair it. This is a complicated process and many different treatments working together help the process. Herbs, Orthomolecular medicine (nutrients), homeopathy, acupuncture, colon hydrotherapy and, of course, probiotics can help reverse gut damage and restore your digestive health. Be sure and seek the advice of a physician that is licensed in these medical modalities before starting any program.