When we think about anxiety, depression, and serotonin levels, we automatically think of our nervous system for being responsible for these sorts of things. However, new research is discovering that most chemicals, such as serotonin, which have such an enormous impact on our mental health, are produced not in the nervous system but in the gut.

Studies have shown with increasing evidence that the gut’s complex chemistry is as responsible for the phycological wellbeing as our physical wellbeing. Here are just a few examples of why.

1. The Gut to Brain Connection

Good Bacteria
The gut to brain connection is so strong that the gut is often referred to as “the second brain”. There is something of a superhighway of chemical signals being passed between the brain and digestive system.

Serotonin is the most prominent example of this. Serotonin is a well-known neurotransmitter that is largely responsible for modulating mood and cognition. It is now understood that 95% of serotonin production is in the digestive tract, while only 5% of production occurs in the brain.

2. Good Bacteria, Good Mood

The benefits of good bacteria, also known as probiotics, have been powerfully preached, especially in the last decade in the health and wellness sphere.

However, perhaps a lesser-known benefit of probiotics is their ability to boost your mood.

Research shows increasing evidence that a healthy probiotic diet can help combat the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Probiotics balance the variety of bacteria in the gut. In doing so, it balances the chemical signals being passed back and forth on that chemical highway mentioned above between brain and gut.

3. Go with your Gut

Go with your Gut
The foods you eat affect the way you feel. The gastrointestinal tract is lined with millions of neurons, meaning that the way you’re digesting your food guides your emotions.

Processed foods cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, and this interferes with things such as serotonin production. Studies have shown that the risk of depression is 25 -35% less likely in those who eat a whole foods diet.

So, don’t underestimate the effects your diet has on your mental health. Talk to your doctor about probiotics and less processed foods to boost your mood.