Every single one of us has experienced anxiety. New research suggests that there is a strong connection between your emotions and your gut, and your gut bacteria could be causing your anxiety. Here’s what you need to know along with my prescriptions for lifestyle changes that can help reduce those anxious feelings.
The gut-brain connectionIn a new study, using mice as test subjects, researchers found a new connection between gut bacteria and anxiety-like behavior. Trillions of microbes residing in the gut have the ability to influence microRNAs – molecules found in the brain that play a key role in gene expression regulation. The influenced microRNAs are found in two specific parts of the brain – the amygdala, which is associated with emotions and the prefrontal cortex, which plays a role in personality development. Findings showed that the microRNAs in the brains of mice bred in germ-free conditions were most significantly affected. Those mice displayed abnormal levels of anxiety, deficits in social and cognitive ability and depressive-like behavior.
Is gut bacteria causing your anxiety?You now know that changes to gut bacteria can influence microRNAs in a way that fuels your anxiety. Antibiotics, stress, smoking, consuming alcohol, sleep deprivation and nutritional choices are only some of the things that can affect your gut bacteria. Gut bacteria can affect your entire body and could be triggering your anxiousness. To figure out if the gut-brain connection is in play, it’s important to implement simple but effective lifestyle changes. These healthy habits can restore balance in the gut and reduce or eliminate your anxiety. Scroll down for my prescriptions.
When to seek helpIf you struggle with anxiety, you are not alone. While occasional anxiety is extremely common, professional help is sometimes needed. You should never suffer in silence. Please talk to your doctor or a mental health provider if you feel worry, fear or anxiety that is difficult to control and interferes with your daily life. Professional advice or treatment can help you to overcome your anxiety and reclaim control. If you have questions about managing your anxiety or implementing lifestyle changes to reduce anxiety, please send me an email to share your thoughts. Make healthy living a part of every day. The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste. Dr. Nandi Sign Up to join our growing Health Hero community and have the latest health and wellness research and topics delivered to your inbox weekly. For daily updates, live chats, inspiration, community and more, follow us on Facebook.
- Get enough physical exercise. Moving with purpose will not only lift your mood, but it’s also a powerful stress reducer.
- When you feel anxious – take action. Go for a walk, meditate or try visualization techniques as they can all help ease anxiety.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety. Keep a diary to help identify what’s causing your stress.
- Don’t turn to substances like alcohol, drugs or nicotine to manage nervousness. They can worsen existing anxiety and trigger additional anxiety.