Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND
Anxiety is when we have feelings of tension, worry or overwhelming thoughts. A normal amount of anxiety is ok and it occurs as a response to stress – an expected part of life. Anxiety disorders, however, are when these emotions become more intense and start interfering with our day to day life. Anxiety disorder is a mental illness, affecting about 40 million adults aged 18 years or older—about 18% of the overall population.
Anxiety is on the rise, and it occurs more commonly in women compared to men (3:2 ratio). Anxiety disorders also occur earlier in women, as compared to men. It is also more likely going to be accompanied by other disorders (for example depression). Early episodes are strong predictors of later depressive episodes.
The gut-brain connection
Nobody really thinks that the health of our digestive tract can have an impact on our anxiety level but recent studies are finding out that yes there is a big connection! Our gut microbiome (the flora/organisms found in our digestive tract) has a big influence in the function of our brain because it modulates both our immune system and hormonal levels. Yes, a balanced gut flora can regulate our mental and emotional state.
I find this fascinating because if you are one of the many people struggling with bloating, gassiness, constipation, diarrhea, yeast infections etc. then you have a higher risk of not dealing with stressors very well and developing anxious thoughts and feelings. Don’t be surprised if you go to see your Naturopathic Doctor for anxiety, depression or mood swings and we start asking you about your bowel movements, or if we start asking you if you have taken many antibiotics in the past, or if you are taking your probiotics or maybe even suggest a parasite or yeast cleanse. These are all beneficial treatments to balance your gut flora.
Fix your gut and trust me – you won’t feel like everyone around you are as irritating! ☺
If you are suffering with anxiety and also have problems with your digestion, call us at 905-239-3900 for a 10 min. free “Meet&Greet” and we can explain how we can help you.