As Cities Re-Open:  Secrets for Your Microbiome 

In the last few months, we’ve been faced with enormous challenges that have caused a strain in our home and work life. The coronavirus has led to high-stress levels and poor mental health. With shelter-in-place restrictions and those with a history of anxiety problems, stress has only exacerbated.

As businesses re-open, people are still anxious to step back into their daily routine. The effects of anxiety lead to increased food cravings, poor sleep, and digestive problems. In addition, one can experience mood swings and a lackluster immune system. 

Why Gut Health Matters 

The microbiome plays an important role in bidirectional communication. When microorganisms in your gut are well-balanced, healthy brain signals occur. This leads to positive moods, reduced anxiety, and mental clarity. Without appropriate gut health, your mental state flies off the roof.

In other words, you cannot reap the benefits of mental health without a healthy gut. In fact, according to the International Journal of Medical Case Reports1, the connection involves constant cross-talk between the brain and the gut. The balance of microorganisms in the gut is a key component to mental clarity and less anxiety. 

During this stressful time, hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are greatly impacted. When these hormones are released more often than normal, numerous problems can occur. For instance, the gut microbiome2 is affected because of the excess of stress hormones. This can lead to gut flora imbalance.

In addition, these gut changes cause GI function disruption that negatively impacts neurotransmitters, and results in physical and mental stress.

Powerful Strategies to Support a Healthy Brain 

Luckily, there are solutions to keep the body and mental state intact. The mental and microbiome health correlation is evident, and making lifestyle strategies is vital for maximum results. Here are some powerful strategies to consider during this trying time: 

Get Enough Sleep 

Getting adequate sleep is necessary for a healthy attitude. Despite living in uncertain times, let go of the need to overthink late at night, and try to go to bed early and around the same time every night. The “early to bed, early to rise” mantra is a good way to keep a consistent routine. Furthermore, aim at getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night, and avoid caffeine late in the day. 

Physical Activity 

Though it can be a challenge to stay active during this pandemic, be sure to boost your body with some exercise every day. In fact, according to the Journal of Psychiatric Research3, physical activity is just as effective as medication to improve mood and reduce anxiety. 

Diet 

Eating a healthy diet also plays a role in mental stress. For example, according to BMC Medicine4, eating healthy foods plays an important role in mood, anxiety, and focus. Additionally, reducing or eliminating intake of processed foods (such as chips and donuts) and drinking plenty of water will also contribute to a healthy mindset. 

Stress-reduction strategies 

Many tools can help support healthy physical and mental stress levels. For example, deep breathing exercises, mental activities, meditation, and body tapping are simple strategies to help keep your mind at ease.

Connect 

During these unprecedented times, your loss of social contact is limited. Moreover, in order to avoid more mental and physical stress, keeping contact with your friends and loved ones is vital. For instance, connecting through text or a phone call can help ease the sense of anxiety. In addition, doing a nice gesture for someone such as leaving a kind note in front of the door can also help reduce your feelings of stress.

How Spores Can Enhance the Microbiome 

During this pandemic, having proper lifestyle strategies in place can help you feeling vibrant. Furthermore, consuming gut microbiome supplements can maximize your health by: 

Reducing LPS 

According to Clinical Psychological Science5, microbiome balance and oxidative stress can impair brain function. In addition, studies show6 a reduction in butyrate produced by bacteria, combined with lipopolysaccharides (LPS), leads to increased gut permeability in the brain. Probiotic bacteria have been shown to reduce metabolic endotoxemia and LPS levels, which supports a healthy inflammatory response, thus leading to better mental health. 

Keeping neurotransmitter levels healthy

Serotonin and dopamine are known to be mental quality neurotransmitters, which are needed to help regulate mood, anxiety, and focus. According to the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology7, the gut microbiome is a fabulous microfactory for the production and regulation of neurotransmitter levels. 

Diversifying microorganisms in the gut 

According to Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience8, mental health and cognitive function can be enhanced, as more diversity allows for production of neurotransmitters and hormones by the microbiota. The combination of the various types of probiotics can enhance diversity and in turn, then lead to better mental health. 

Supporting immune function

There is a correlation between gut health and immunity. Moreover, according to the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology9, immunity is correlated with mental health as well.

For instance, the Journal of Functional Foods10 shows spore-forming probiotic bacteria are crucial to not only gut health, but also healthy immune system function. With the addition of probiotic to your daily regimen, individuals may experience a healthier immune system and better mental function. 

As if modern life wasn’t stressful enough, the current pandemic has added higher anxiety levels for many. During times of uncertainty, it’s best to focus on what you can control. For instance, a healthy diet, regular exercise, deep sleep, supportive relationships, stress reduction strategies and consuming microbiome-supporting supplements can help initiate your best body function. 

In fact, combining healthy food and taking targeted probiotic supplements can support a healthy gut.11 

Be sure to select a brain health supplement that is based on whole food plant sources, rather rock-source minerals. As always, ensure that you purchase your selections from a trusted, reputable company with high-quality standards. Now you can balance your microbiome levels to enjoy lifelong health. 

Resources

  1. Clapp, Aurora, Herrera, Bhatia, Wilen, Wakefield (2017). Gut Microbiota’s Effect on Mental Health: The gut-brain axis. Clinics and Practice, 15, Sept, 7 (4), 987. 
  2. Konturek, P.C., Brzozowski, T., Konturek, S.J. (2011). Stress and the Gut: Pathophysiology Clinical Consequences, Diagnostic Approach and Treatment Options. Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 62, 6, 591-599. 
  3. Schuch, Vancampfort, Richards, Rosenbaum, Ward, Stubbs (2016). Exercise as a treatment for depression: A meta-analysis adjusting for publication bias. Journal of Psychiatric Research42051 (77), 42-51 
  4. Jacka, F.N., O’Neil, A., Opie, R. et al. A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial). BMC Med15, 23 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-017-0791-y 
  5. Kaplan, B. (2015). The Emerging Field of Nutritional Mental Health: Inflammation, the Microbiome, Oxidative Stress, and Mitochondrial Function. Clinical Psychological Science. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271908350_The_Emerging_Field_of_Nutritional_Mental_Health_Inflammation_the_Microbiome_Oxidative_Stress_and_Mitochondrial_Function 
  6. Godos, J.; Currenti, W.; Angelino, D.; Mena, P.; Castellano, S.; Caraci, F.; Galvano, F.; Del Rio, D.; Ferri, R.; Grosso, G. Diet and Mental Health: Review of the Recent Updates on Molecular Mechanisms. Antioxidants2020, 9, 346. 
  7. McFarlin, Henning, Bowman, Gary, Carbajal (2017). Oral Spore-based probiotic supplementation was associated with reduced incidence of post-prandial dietary endotoxin, triglycerides, and disease risk biomarkers. World J Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology. 2017 Aug 15; 8 (3): 117-126.
  8. Strandwitz, P. (2018). Neurotransmitter. Brain Research1693, 128-133. 
  9. Kelly, Kennedy, Cogar, Dinan, Clarke, Hyland (2015). Breaking down the barriers: the gut microbiome intestine permeability and stress-related psychiatric disorders. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
  10. Dinan, T., Cryan, J. Microbes, Immunity, and Behavior: Psychoneuroimmunology Meets the Microbiome. Neuropsychopharmacol42, 178–192 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2016.103 
  11. Yu, Liu, Zhao, Zhang, Zhai, Chen (2020). Probiotic characteristics of Bacillus coagulans and associated implications of human health and diseases. Journal of Functional Foods. 2020, Jan; 64. 
  12. Metzegar, L. “10 Shocking Facts About Your Gut Microbiome.” Embria Health Sciences, 05 April. 2017, https://www.epicorimmune.com/blog/2017/04/05/10-shocking-facts-about-your-gut-microbiome