Anorexia and your gut
Having a healthy gut contributes to a healthy mind
We have all had ‘butterflies’ or ‘the jitters’ in the stomach, when nervous or anxious. Have you ever said “I can’t stomach that’ to hearing or seeing something disagreeable. Or when very upset, you cannot eat, you feel like you will throw up if you did?
Well there has been a lot of research done on the relationship between the brain and the gut. The gut is considered to be a single digestive organ which includes the esophagus, stomach and intestines; it has a brain called the ‘gut brain’ (enteric nervous system) that allows it to operate independently from the brain. Neurons in the gut produce neurotransmitters also found in the brain, such as serotonin, about 95% of the serotonin in the body is made in the gut, not in the brain.
Many who have a mental health illness often report that they have stomach problems, so is it the gut causing the mental health problem? What you think is going on in your head may be caused in part by what’s happening in your gut.
This information has consequences for us all regarding our mental health. e.g.depression is affected by serotonin, when we do not produce enough it can affect our moods. This is especially true of women who are on a high protein low carb diet. Complex carbohydrates are involved in the making of serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone, if you are on not eating enough carbohydrates you can have low levels of serotonin this could leave you open to depression.
Can you begin to understand how diet can modify your personality and your behavior, there are many hormones and neurotransmitters that are generated in this gut brain; thus it is very important not only to eat healthily but to keep your gut healthy.
If you are suffering with anorexia with very limited eating, consider eating foods which will.
increase your intestinal bacteria; yogurt, and fermented kefir, tofu, miso(all low calorie foods)
this will help you to keep up your gut health until you have alleviated your anorexia.
If you are suffering from an eating disorder and want to get on the path to a healthier life than visit the Eating Disorder page for more information.
B. Soc. Sc. (honors) Masters P.H.C.