- Feeling anxious? Miserable? Stressed? Depressed? This could be the cause
- How to help your ‘second brain’ work at its best
“Ray, you’re always thinking with your stomach.”
That’s what my mum would tell me from time to time.
Well, quite a lot actually.
I was a growing lad and constantly hungry.
When I got home from school I’d ask, “Is there anything to eat?” and once I’d been directed to the fruit bowl (groaning with disappointment because what I wanted was crisps) I’d then ask, “What’s for dinner?”
In reply my mum would sigh and say, “Wait-and-see with chips.”
I HATED it when she said that.
And sometimes, when the surprise meal arrived, there weren’t even any chips, as promised.
Anyway, my childhood suffering aside, it’s a strange phrase, isn’t it?…
“Thinking with your stomach”…
Of course, it’s a colloquial expression that means having an obsession with food. But in scientific terms, it is becoming clearer that we really DO think with our stomach.
You could even say it’s a form of second brain!
And when it’s not working properly, it can influence your mood and sense of well-being in powerful ways.
Feeling anxious? Miserable? Stressed? Depressed? This could be the cause
Your gut is home to trillions of micro-organisms including bacteria, archaea, protozoa, and fungi. These little organisms are crucial to your well-being.
As a Harvard report says: “Microbiota stimulate the immune system, break down potentially toxic food compounds, and synthesize certain vitamins and amino acids, including the B vitamins and vitamin K.”
As well as breaking down food and vitamins, they also release neurotransmitters, which can communicate with your brain and have an effect on your mood.
For instance, in 2015 scientists found evidence linking anxiety and depression to the presence of certain kinds of bacteria in the intestines.
Then in 2016, research in the journal Cell linked Parkinson’s disease to bacteria living in the gut.
Professor John Cryan of University College Cork said: “We now know that good brain health depends on good gut health. The gut microbiome affects every aspect of brain functioning and human behaviour.”
Now in 2019, a massive study just published in the journal Nature Microbiology has shown that two specific forms of gut bacteria – the unpleasantly named ‘Coprococcus’ and ‘Faecalibacterium’ – are linked to good mental health, while low levels of these bacteria can cause depression.
It means that looking after your gut microbes is vital if you want to feel good about life.
How to help your ‘second brain’ work at its best
As I’ve written in the past, you can help balance your gut bacteria with plenty of healthy fruit and veg in your diet. The more variety, the better.
That goes without saying, of course.
For a more systematic approach, you can also add probiotic food like natural yoghurt, coconut water and miso soup to your diet.
There is scepticism in some quarters about the efficacy of probiotics. However, Professor Tim Spector, who researches Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College, London, told The Telegraph last year that while the occasional blast of probiotics is unlikely to have much effect, if you regularly take them long term, the benefits become significant.
He included “depression” as one of the conditions probiotics could help with.
But here’s something you might find interesting, and may have never considered.
The surprising benefits of CBD oil
I talked last Friday about CBD oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with a large array of common health conditions.
Within your body is a network of receptors and molecules that work together as “the endocannabinoid system”. This system connects your brain, nervous system, glands, skin, immune system, and connective tissue.
When you take cannabinoid oil, it stimulates activity in these receptors and works to prevent enzymes that break down endocannabinoids. The result is a feeling of wellness across your mind and body without the psychoactive response (otherwise known as “getting high”) you might expect from a cannabis product.
That’s because CBD oil is low (less than 0.2%) in THC, the stuff that gives you a buzz.
If you’ve been tracking the news you’ll have seen lots of stories about people experiencing almost-miraculous recovery from health complaints with CBD oil.
This is why they’re becoming so popular.
There is even some evidence that CBD could help with conditions in the gut and digestive system. For instance, if you look at this research paper here you’ll see how the endocannabinoid system can control “gastrointestinal functions, including motility, inflammation and gut permeability, and dynamic interactions with gut microbiota.”
Or this review here looks at cannabidiol (CBD) as a promising drug for the therapy of inflammatory bowel diseases.
So this is a new angle that’s worth considering.
If you want to know more about CBD oil, check out our page Get The Real Facts Behind CBD Use and you can try out the oil, risk-free.
CBD oil is becoming huge news in the natural health world, having endured decades of stigma, banished to the fringes of science.
Relaxations in laws and regulations are finally allowing CBD oil to be tried by people who are in pain, anxious, stressed, or suffering long-term illness.
Now scientists across the globe are busy finding out more about how CBD oil can improve well-being, mood and pain perception.
It’s about time too in my opinion.
But you have an opportunity to find out for yourself – there’s a trial going here which will allows you to feel the beneficial effects of the oil or get your money back.