The One Thing That Can Keep You Healthy & Safe

May 27th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life

Listen to your gut.

As someone who’s dealt with IBS for almost a decade I know how intertwined the relationship between gut health and overall well-being can be. I also know that listening to my gut has helped me avoid potentially dangerous situations. The more I’ve read on this relationship the more I’m shocked at how overlooked it is by most people.

Last week a new study was released that focused on rats who had the afferent portion of their vagus nerve severed. This is the portion of the nerve that carries messages from the abdomen to the brain (the efferent nerve was intact to so their brain could still control their stomach.) Researchers found that those rats were less wary of open spaces and bright lights compared to control rats with an intact vagus nerve. Simplified version: without the ability to listen to their gut the rats started doing stupid shit that could get themselves in dangerous situations!

Mouse

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Think of the last time you had a ‘bad feeling’ about something. Where was that feeling coming from? I’m guessing it was your stomach. Hopefully you listened to it, but if not you could have been like those rats and putting yourself in a situation that deep down you know you shouldn’t be in. The situation could be physical, like times my gut told me to turn around and not run down a certain street, or the situation could be an emotional one.

This study got me thinking about the book Happy Belly that I read a few weeks ago. The author, Nadya Andreeva, really stressed how an imbalance in the gut could cause an imbalance in mental states. I 100% believe it. If your brain could affect your gut, why couldn’t your gut affect your brain? Imagine what it would do to your brain if the bacteria/yeast/flora was thrown off due to imbalanced diet, stress, or antibiotics? I’ve been taking probiotics for years now (I love Florastor and these Pearls) and there is plenty of research available to show that taking probiotics can have a positive impact on mood.

Gut Health

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Sources:

Psych Central: Rat Study Shows the Power of Gut Instinct

Scientific America: Friendly Bacteria Cheer Up Anxious Mice

Has a ‘gut feeling’ ever saved you from making a bad decision?
Do you think your mood could be impacted by your gut?

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12 Responses

  • My gut guides me now more than ever – in my 20s I should have listened to it more ;)

  • Cassie says:

    I totally believe in gut feelings… it’s so hard to try and figure out what your heart is saying and what your gut is saying though!

    • Erica House says:

      Hmm…interesting comment. Do you think your heart and gut are saying different things though? I think most of the time my heart and gut are in agreement!

  • Jade says:

    I’m totally one that gets those gut feelings but then doesn’t follow through — sometimes it’s because of relationships and it’s hard to stop what the heart is feeling when you just know, but then sometimes you just aren’t courageous enough to follow that gut.

  • Jennifer Pearson says:

    This totally makes sense. I was having stomach issues, so I stopped eating wheat and dairy. I’ve never felt better, I’ve lost 22 pounds, and I’m MUCH more focused/less absent-minded than I have been in my whole life.

    • Erica House says:

      One of the symptoms of celiacs/gluten sensitivity is depression/anxiety or inability to focus due to ingesting gluten. It’s a prime example of how gut health impacts mental/emotional states!

  • Amazing how it’s all connected. I dealt with IBS my whole life in varying degrees of severity depending on what was going on in my life. Figuring out what foods triggered flare ups took over my life at some points and it was always so frustrating. I now know what foods I can’t tolerate and contributed to the problem, but I can’t deny the gut-brain connection! I always felt the worst during times of high stress and emotional turmoil. The answer for me is nutrition and stress management, and the funny thing is how closely the 2 relate to each other.

    • Erica House says:

      Even though I know cutting back on dairy & gluten have helped my IBS the biggest trigger for me was always stress. My problem is that I ‘handle’ stress so well cognitively that I often have no idea the physical toll it’s taking on me until it’s way to late!

  • I honestly think I haven’t paid close enough attention to the way my body responds to specific foods. Lately, I’ve been trying to analyze my energy levels and compare it to the foods I’ve chosen to eat that day. It’s pretty interesting to be honest to see how one little change can affect something so drastically!

    • Erica House says:

      A few years ago when I did my ‘100 Days of Data’ my main goal was to write everything I ate down and overall moods for the day so I could keep an accurate record of that connection. Otherwise it is hard to keep track of the effects of the dozens of food I’d eat each week!



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