Hormones, Emotions and Gut Bacteria

This direct link between hormones and gut bacteria could explain how certain chronic stress situations or traumas could trigger onset of Alopecia .

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Science has finally proven that our gut has a direct influence on our emotions and our emotions have a direct influence on our gut.

Most people are not aware of how the health of their gastrointestinal system affects their mental health. Irritability, depression and anxiety have all been linked with problems in the gastrointestinal tract.  Researchers now realize that we have a “gut brain” that produces neurotransmitters that directly influence our emotional state –  the brain-gut axis.  There is a constant communication of chemical and electrical messages between the gut and the brain, therefore, what affects the stomach will directly affect the brain and vice versa.

The official name of the gut brain is the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS regulates digestion.  It handles this job primarily on its own, without a lot of help from the brain, which is why it has the ability to “think” independently from the brain.  The gut contains 100 million neurons – more than the spinal cord.

According to William Whitehead, PhD, a professor of medicine and an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, is one of the forerunners in the science behind the entire digestive system being closely attuned to a person’s emotions and state of mind.

Nearly every chemical that controls the brain is also located in the stomach region, including hormones and neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Glutamate, GABA and Norepinephrine. 95% of the Serotonin in the body lies in the digestive system.

We recently reported on evidence that gut microbes do in fact influence neurological function (along with aiding digestion and inhibiting pathogens). Professor Mark Lyte  wrote a paper that proposes a new field of microbial endocrinology, where microbiology meets neuroscience.  Lyte said. “There is already evidence to suggest that the connection between gut microbes and the nervous system represents a viable route for influencing neurological function.”

In the paper, Lyle lists several neurochemicals (normally produced by the brain) that are also produced by various probiotics in the gut:
Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium GABA
Escherichia, Bacillus, Saccharomyces Norepinephrine
Candida, Streptococcus, Escherichia, Enterococcus Serotonin
Bacillus, Serratia Dopamine
Lactobacillus Acetylcholine.

Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria produce GABA, which is known to reduce stress and anxiety (GABA may also reduce inflammation in colitis and intestinal bowel disease).  “GABA is already potentially present in some fermented foods,” Gregor Reid of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Western Ontario points out. “So should there not be some clinical evidence available already to suggest that eating these foods improves mental health?

Good health fundamentally depends upon the friendly, symbiotic bacteria that inhabit the digestive tract and promote health. Gut health is an essential component of our general wellbeing, and Probiotics contain millions of live beneficial bacteria that bolster and replenish the microflora in the gut region.

It is exciting to know that  microbial endocrinology has emerged, as an important approach to treating all levels of  psychological and emotional imbalances

2 thoughts on “Hormones, Emotions and Gut Bacteria

  1. Ive suffered depression, anxiety, and alot of trauma’s in my life and im only 30. I had a terrible time from the age of 14 till i gave my flat up and moved back home. I was stress free and feeling happier again and then boom, hairloss. My friend believes my bosy couldnt cope with being relaxed as id suffered from so much for a long time that it went into its own trauma which could be why my hair fell out, But again will never know if that is the reason as i doubt will ever find out.!!

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