The Microbiome in Your Gut and How It Affects Your Mental Health and Overall Health.

By Guest Author - Rachel Costello 
Ayurveda Practitioner, Regenerative health detoxification student.
  • Have you ever gotten a “gut feeling” about something?
  • Has your appetite ever been affected by your mood?  
  • Or your mood been affected by not being able to eat….like getting hangry?
  • Have you ever gotten that “butterfly” feeling in your gut when you are nervous or excited about something?
These are all signs of the fact that our brain and our gut are intertwined. 
The gut-brain axis is a two way communication channel that runs from your brain to your gut and back again.  
The gut is often referred to as the second brain.  It houses about 1000 million neurons.   In my regenerative health detoxification program at the Institute of Regenerative Health, I am learning specifically about the different types of bacteria and how they are responsible for supporting our gut to make efficient levels of certain hormones. 
In order to have a healthy communication between the gut and the brain we must first have a healthy working digestive system. 
“Proper digestion is a vital process whereby foods are broken down so that their nutrition and energy can be used for cellular fuel.  Without this the entire body becomes weak, affecting all its functions.”  Dr Morse N.D. The Detox Miracle Sourcebook.
In order to have proper digestion, we must have a balanced gut microbiome.  When we do, the communication between the gut and the brain is on point.  9 signals come up from the gut, to the brain, and only 1 signal goes down to the gut.  The signal that comes down to the gut is to tell the gut how much and what kind of hormones to make.  If it needs to, the gut can actually function fully without your brain.  Amazing!
If we want more of the ability to feel joy form the happy hormone - serotonin- we must first get our microbiome in balance.  If we need better sleep - we must first help our gut make efficient levels of melatonin.  If we want more dopamine to feel more motivated and rewarded from the pleasures of life - you guessed it - we need to balance the gut microbiome. 
The microbiome consists of more that 70,000 different types of bacteria.  There are certain bacteria that feed and help break down the fibers in fruits and vegetables. This type of bacteria is essential for the communication between the gut and the rest of the body.  These are the good guys, and when they are in abundance you will crave healthy food!
Then there are other bacteria that help break down the other stuff- the sugars, the breads, the dairy, and proteins. Too much of these type of bacteria and they can quickly become overgrown, create damage to the lining of the stomach and intestines, and start the process of candida overgrowth which leads to leaky gut.  When these bacteria are overgrown, they will make you crave sugar, breads, pastas, and the like.   
Things that decrease or create imbalance in the microbiome in the gut:  conventionally grown food, antibiotics, most probiotics, alcohol, high levels of stress, overly acidic food for long periods of time, and most coffee.
Why conventionally grown foods?  This is the kicker- chemical pesticides, specifically glyphosate, is patented as an anti-biotic.  It is on all our non organic food and it cannot be washed off.  It is sprayed so heavily across the globe that is has entered the air and water supply.  It damages the microbiome, and creates holes in our gut lining.  This is a huge contributor to an unhealthy gut and an imbalanced mind…and most people don’t even know what it is!  
Antibiotic use is obvious in the fact that it kills off all bacteria, not just the bad guys. 
Probiotics are usually six or seven overpopulated strains of bacteria and it can cause what’s called mono culturing which is almost the same as antibiotic use.  Remember we need over 70,000 different microbes in our gut.  Probiotics can over populate and over feed just those few strands of bacteria and the others begin to die off.  They are usually made in a lab, and fed with sugar which contributes to an environment that you don’t want in your gut. Your gut is supposed to be producing and populating healthy bacteria based off of the food you eat.  Organic plants help feed the healthy bacteria. 
Alcohol is packed with sugars and fermented which contribute to fungal/candida overgrowth , it wipes out the healthy gut bacteria and contributes to depression, anxiety, and fatigue.  Alcohol is usually made with conventional grains, grapes, or yeasts and has high levels of chemical pesticide residue. 
Coffee is overly acidic which destroys the gut lining, and is usually full of pesticide residue as well.  Our bodies are alkaline by design and I will get more into that in another article. 
It is possible to help your body get your body and mind back in balance, it does require a good gut support that removes the chemical pesticides, prebiotic foods that help feed the good bacteria in your gut.  Do not underestimate the power of FRESH organic fruits and vegetables. Fulvic and humid acid from healthy soil are some of the most powerful probiotics from mother earth. 
There are other factors to a healthy mind of course.  Most people could use more self care, trauma therapy, and time off.  Most people would feel better if they had more time for their passions, with their loved ones, and in nature. 
When we are having any symptom that tells us something is off in the body.  It is wise to ask “what is the root of the symptom?”.  If we listen to the body when it whispers, we won’t have to hear it scream.  If your body is screaming that something is off, don’t panic, we are designed to heal.  We just need the right environment. 
Most people could use a health reset that is focused on gut support and flooding the body with whole food micronutrients so that when we do get the ability to do all of the amazing things we want to do, our guts and minds are supported to thrive.
To your healthiest expression, 
Rachel Costello

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