Hippocrates once said, “All disease starts in the gut.” We often look to the future for medical research, development and findings. However, I believe we can also learn from past words of wisdom. In the spirit of this Hippocratic statement, I would like to spend this month focusing on the relationship between gut health and physical and mental health.
Did you know that there is a connection between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the nervous system of the gastrointestinal tract? This connection leads to bidirectional messaging between the gut and the brain. There is one more integral player in this relationship, gut microbiota. These environmental bacteria act as the mediary responsible for the communication between the central nervous system and the gut.
While working in both inpatient and outpatient clinical facilities, I observed the traditional treatment of mental health issues with pharmaceuticals. Gut health is seldom investigated when people present with anxiety, depression, ADHD or even schizophrenia. Evidence is beginning to emerge that suggests a link between gut health and mental health. Be your own advocate and request a review of your gut function. One of my preferred methods of evaluation is stool testing. This is a noninvasive test that provides a detailed report of your gut health status. By completing personalized testing, your practitioner will be able to focus on a treatment plan that is most effective for you.