How Your Gut Bacteria Controls Your Mood

Your gut and your brain
talk 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 39
trillion microorganisms in it. And yes, I said, trillion. We call this collection of
organisms, 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 the
brain 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 out
and sends out feelersto control your internal organsin your abdomen and your chest
including your intestines. It’s the longest nerve that
originates 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 operating
officer, your brain. That’s probably more
than you wanted to knowabout the vagus nerve but
I couldn’t help myself. The vagus nerve is an importantin triggering a relaxation responsemore on that in another video. We know that people who
are depressed and anxioushave very different microbiomesand people who are not depressed. With depression you have a higher numberof bad bacteria that produce
inflammatory chemicals,they send these inflammatory
chemicals back to the brainand they get distributed in the body. So the ideal scenariois to have a diverse
population of bacteria strains. Yes, even the microbiome values diversity,even though the microbiome
contains virusesand fungi, it’s mostly bacteria,so I will refer to it
as your gut bacteria. What makes you have good
versus bad bacteria?Several things, diet and medications. Diets high in processed
foods, sugar, red meat,and fast food promote the bad bacteria,and lots of medications
and 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 between
having poor microbiome healthand depression is so strong
that research has shownthat transplanting feces
containing the bacteriafrom a non-depressed individualto a depressed individual
treated the depression. So we know that this is a
real thing that matters,but unfortunately it’s
not practical to do fecaltransplants because of the
risk of transmitting infection. Plus there’s just something abouthaving someone else’s feces
injected into your bodythat just doesn’t right, no pun intended. So until we have maybe
an 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 or
reducing 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 keeps
them in circulation. These are foods that are
high in inulin, fruit,sugars, polyphenols, and
polyunsaturated fatty acids. Some examples of prebiotics
are onion, garlic,bananas, walnuts, wine,
oily fish, and oats. I have a handy guide that you
can download from my website. If you’re already part
of my email community,you got this when the
video first published,you can get it from my websitewithout leaving your email address,but then you’ll have to
go back to my websiteevery time I give away something. Then there’s probiotics. Probiotics contain the actual bacteriathat you ingest to increase the
good population of bacteria. You can get them from your
diet, or you can take capsules. It’s always best to get importantnutrients from your food
rather than supplements. Some examples of dietary
probiotics 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 bacteria
that you have the better,and you can increase the diversityby taking probiotic supplementsalong with eating probiotic food. The probiotic capsules
contain freeze dried bacteria,that reconstitute once they get pastthe stomach and into the gut. And by the way, because
of the positive effecton your mental health, some people referto probiotics as psychobiotics. It matters when you take
your 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 Coli
that cause food poisoning. These bacteria survive the stomach acidand then secrete toxins
causing vomiting and diarrhea. The most common good bacteria strainsare Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli,and they can also survive the stomach acidif they’re not exposed
to 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 stomach
is fast when it’s empty,but when you eat a heavy
meal there’s a backupas the food gets processed,it’s like waiting in line to
go through airport security. In that case, the bacteria
can get killed offwhile it sits in the stomach. So probiotics work best
on an empty stomachor with a very light meal. The next thing you want to dois increase your aerobic exercise. The department of health
and human servicesrecommends 150 minutes of
moderate exercise a week. This could be 30 minutes of brisk walkingor swimming five days a week,and then running would
be vigorous exercising,with this you would only
need 75 minutes a week. As for sleep set a consistent
bedtime that allows youto get seven to nine
hours of sleep each night. Even if you’ve never been
depressed or anxious,good gut health begets good overall healthincluding maintaining a proper weight. Have you ever wondered
what makes some peoplenaturally thin while others large?Even when the two people
eat the same amount of food,you may say it’s genetic,
well, guess what?That population of 39 trillion organismshouse a lot of genetic
material in their cells,and that influences a lot
of our body functions. Some people refer to the
microbiome as the second brainor the secondary immune system. So it would be who view to take careof your microbe community and
then it will take care of you. Thanks for watching. See you next time.

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