Depression & Anxiety – is it your head or your gut?

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Dr. Holly
Dr. Holly
Dr. Holly

We experience depression and anxiety as a “head” thing, but too many times the cause is in the body. In fact, there are a wide number of physical causes that range from the adrenals, to the liver, to the thyroid (typically not the thyroid, typically its the gut, liver, and/or adrenals), to metal toxicity, etc etc, a primary focus for the last few years has been the gut.

Historically, it was believed that 90% of the information going along the Vagus nerve (the 10th cranial nerve that runs between the head and the gut) was directed from the brain down to the gut. Today’s research shows that once again, medical science was wrong and that 90% of the information actually flows from the gut to the brain.

Did you know that the gut has over 100 million nerves – more than in the spinal cord? Did you know that the gut produces all the same neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, neurohormones, glial cells, etc that the skull brain produces? In fact, the gut brain produces more neurotransmitters than the skull brain!! Did you know that the gut talks to the brain in a wide variety of ways through the central nervous system, the immune system, the hormone system, etc?

Did you know that there are more bacteria in your gut than cells in your whole body? Did you know that they are now estimating that there are over 35,000 different species of gut bacteria? Did you know that the bacteria in the gut can effect the amount of neurotransmitters produced in the brain. Or that the bacteria in the gut can effect our thoughts, our emotions and our behavior? Did you know that your gut can cause inflammation in the brain; deplete the brain of nutrients; send toxins to the brain? Yup, that gut is pretty darn important.

So the question we ask starts to change…not only do we need to ask what in the body is creating the depression and/or anxiety…but now we need to ask are you even creating it or is it the microbiota in your gut that is creating it? You are in charge of what you put in your mouth…but after that, they may be in charge of you!!

Conclusion: we need to be very careful of what we put in our mouths!!!

Here’s to your health.

For more information, contact: holly@choicesunlimited.ca

Dr. Holly is a naturopathic doctor that holds a PhD in Psychology and Biochemistry, specializing in balancing mind, body and energy of the system.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and is not a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or other health care practitioner.