ANXIETY AND GUT HEALTH: THE GUT-BRAIN-IMMUNE SYSTEM TRIAD
"...food choices are so fundamental to immune health, and by implication brain health..." -Kelly Brogan, MD
Let me explain the gut-brain-immune system axis:
70% of your immune system is located in your gut - it's called gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT);
The GALT communicates with your brain through the vagus nerve;
Inflammatory markers are sent to the brain via the GALT as a warning when something is not right.
So, what would the gut recognize as 'not right'?
Dysbiosis - when gut flora is dominated by unfriendly microbes. The greatest contributor to dysbiosis is STRESS. ANXIETY is a form of stress....your body is in "fight or flight" mode when you are anxious.
What can you do to restore the health of your gut?
Make sure the lining of your gut is intact, not 'leaky'.....eat whole, non-processed foods and add a daily dose of collagen to your diet through bone broth (vegetarians & vegans can add a sea vegetable-based collagen supplement)
Replenish friendly microbes by eating fermented foods with each meal such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, etc.
Nourish the friendly microbes with lots of fibre
Find techniques to help manage your anxiety such as meditation, walking, gratitude.....
So, to recap, your mental state (anxiety) affects your gut health (dysbiosis) which triggers your immune system to be on alert and send a message to your brain (increase in inflammatory markers) that something is wrong which affects your mental state....see the cycle?
The health of your gut is integral to your mental health.