Photo: NYtimes.com

Your gut is amazing. It’s true – your gut is a fascinating place where many, many bacteria live. Someone asked me a question this week about whether the antidepressants she is taking could be causing her digestive upset, which led me to do some research I’d like to share:

– All the bacteria in your gut weigh 3 to 5 pounds

– There are 100 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. Did you get that? You are completely outnumbered by these little guys.

– We’re talking 100 trillion microbial cells in your body!

In functional medicine, we always treat the gut first. A balance of 85% good bacteria to 15% bad is ok. But if that balance gets thrown off, we run into trouble.

It’s probably obvious that you can have digestive trouble if you have bad bacteria running amok in your gut.

But did you know – your gut affects your mood as well? Here’s where it gets really interesting.

– Your digestive tract (which is 30 feet long from mouth to anus) contains 100 million neurons. Scientists call it the “second brain”

– 95% of your body’s serotonin is found in the gut. So yes, when you take antidepressants (SSRIs) they can provoke GI issues.

– When you optimize the bacteria in your gut, you can improve your mood

Your gut is the center of your personal power. Think about your intuition, your “gut instincts” and “gut feelings.” By improving the ecosystem of the gut, we create a foundation for vibrant health.

Here’s where to start:

1. Clean foods = happy moods

2. Take a good probiotic supplement. Some good brands are Jarrow (at Whole Foods) and I can vouch that the Be Well probiotics are great.

From food to mood, it’s all connected!

And here are some articles if you’d like to read more:

Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being, Scientific American
Studies of Human Microbiome Yield New Insights, NY Times
How Mood and Gut Health are Linked, Paleo Mom
Groovy Probiotics, Psychology Today