How Your Gut Bacteria Controls Your Mood
Your gut and your braintalk to each other,and when the gut talks, the brain listens. I’m Dr. Tracy Marks, a psychiatristand I make mental health education videos. Your intestines has about 39trillion microorganisms in it. And yes, I said, trillion. We call this collection oforganisms, the microbiome,and it consists mostly of bacteria,but it also contains viruses and fungi. Collectively it weighs about three pounds,which is the same way as your brain. We feed these organismsand they produce chemicals that we need. They send messages to thebrain through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is cranial nerve number 10that originates in the brain stem,and then it travels down your neckand alongside your carotid arteries,and then into your chest,and then branches outand sends out feelersto control your internal organsin your abdomen and your chestincluding your intestines. It’s the longest nerve thatoriginates in the brain,and not only controls the contractionsof your gut, which is called Peristalsis,but it also controls your heart rate. So it’s a super important nerve,and that’s what the microbiomeuses to send messages directlyto your chief operatingofficer, your brain. That’s probably morethan you wanted to knowabout the vagus nerve butI couldn’t help myself. The vagus nerve is an importantin triggering a relaxation responsemore on that in another video. We know that people whoare depressed and anxioushave very different microbiomesand people who are not depressed. With depression you have a higher numberof bad bacteria that produceinflammatory chemicals,they send these inflammatorychemicals back to the brainand they get distributed in the body. So the ideal scenariois to have a diversepopulation of bacteria strains. Yes, even the microbiome values diversity,even though the microbiomecontains virusesand fungi, it’s mostly bacteria,so I will refer to itas your gut bacteria. What makes you have goodversus bad bacteria?Several things, diet and medications. Diets high in processedfoods, sugar, red meat,and fast food promote the bad bacteria,and lots of medicationsand not just antibioticscan change the population of your gut. Your age, as you get older, your bacteriapopulation becomes less diverse. Your sleep, bacteria are sensitiveto circadian rhythm changes,so poor sleep promotes bad bacteriaand increases inflammationAnd then activity level, aerobics activityimproves the diversity of your microbiome. The connection betweenhaving poor microbiome healthand depression is so strongthat research has shownthat transplanting fecescontaining the bacteriafrom a non-depressed individualto a depressed individualtreated the depression. So we know that this is areal thing that matters,but unfortunately it’snot practical to do fecaltransplants because of therisk of transmitting infection. Plus there’s just something abouthaving someone else’s fecesinjected into your bodythat just doesn’t right, no pun intended. So until we have maybean artificial option,you have to boost your own gut health. And here’s some suggestions. The first thing is to clean up your dietby eliminating orreducing processed foods,sugar and red meat. The Mediterranean diet is a good choicefor this kind of diet. And I talk about this diet as a treatmentfor depression in this video. Then you want to eat prebiotics. Prebiotics are the fiber that feedsthe bacteria and keepsthem in circulation. These are foods that arehigh in inulin, fruit,sugars, polyphenols, andpolyunsaturated fatty acids. Some examples of prebioticsare onion, garlic,bananas, walnuts, wine,oily fish, and oats. I have a handy guide that youcan download from my website. If you’re already partof my email community,you got this when thevideo first published,you can get it from my websitewithout leaving your email address,but then you’ll have togo back to my websiteevery time I give away something. Then there’s probiotics. Probiotics contain the actual bacteriathat you ingest to increase thegood population of bacteria. You can get them from yourdiet, or you can take capsules. It’s always best to get importantnutrients from your foodrather than supplements. Some examples of dietaryprobiotics are yogurt,sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha,because these foods contain live bacteriayou should check with your doctor. If you are severely immunocompromised. The more good bacteriathat you have the better,and you can increase the diversityby taking probiotic supplementsalong with eating probiotic food. The probiotic capsulescontain freeze dried bacteria,that reconstitute once they get pastthe stomach and into the gut. And by the way, becauseof the positive effecton your mental health, some people referto probiotics as psychobiotics. It matters when you takeyour probiotic supplementsyou need to take them on an empty stomachbefore for your meal. Why? Because your stomach secretesacid as part of the digestive processto break down your food. Some bacteria are very resistant to acid,like certain strains of E Colithat cause food poisoning. These bacteria survive the stomach acidand then secrete toxinscausing vomiting and diarrhea. The most common good bacteria strainsare Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli,and they can also survive the stomach acidif they’re not exposedto the acid for too long. So the bacteria containing food or pillsneed to move through your stomachas fast as possible so the bacteriaisn’t killed off by the acid. Movement through the stomachis fast when it’s empty,but when you eat a heavymeal there’s a backupas the food gets processed,it’s like waiting in line togo through airport security. In that case, the bacteriacan get killed offwhile it sits in the stomach. So probiotics work beston an empty stomachor with a very light meal. The next thing you want to dois increase your aerobic exercise. The department of healthand human servicesrecommends 150 minutes ofmoderate exercise a week. This could be 30 minutes of brisk walkingor swimming five days a week,and then running wouldbe vigorous exercising,with this you would onlyneed 75 minutes a week. As for sleep set a consistentbedtime that allows youto get seven to ninehours of sleep each night. Even if you’ve never beendepressed or anxious,good gut health begets good overall healthincluding maintaining a proper weight. Have you ever wonderedwhat makes some peoplenaturally thin while others large?Even when the two peopleeat the same amount of food,you may say it’s genetic,well, guess what?That population of 39 trillion organismshouse a lot of geneticmaterial in their cells,and that influences a lotof our body functions. Some people refer to themicrobiome as the second brainor the secondary immune system. So it would be who view to take careof your microbe community andthen it will take care of you. Thanks for watching. See you next time.