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The Gut Health & Stress Connection

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Whether from personal experience or word of mouth, we all know and understand that stress is a highly destructive burden when it comes to the health and well-being of our bodies. In fact, about 77% of people who experience stress also experience negative impacts on their physical health. Of this 77%, it has also been found that 26% of people experience indigestion or an upset stomach when exposed to this burden.


So what exactly is stress, and how does it affect your gut/stomach? Stress is a natural response that humans undergo when in a state of worry or mental strain, caused by an intense situation or chronic stressful events. Some examples include financial challenges, family responsibilities, relationships, excessive work, 'rushed woman' syndrome where as women we rush through the day without catching our breath, job stability, personal safety, and much more. Now, the way in which we respond to stress is what makes a substantial difference to the well-being of our physical health. If your body is not receiving the attention and care it needs during stressful moments, health conditions may co-occur; some being depression, anxiety, heart disease, and much more.


What attention and care could counter this stress on the body?


- Slowing down

- Conscious breathing

- Nervous system regulation

- Therapy to work through emotions and challenges

- Getting morning sunlight through the eyes and skin

- Sleeping, so you feel rested when you wake up

- Eating whole foods with diversity

- Reducing your glucose spike (changing the order in which you eat food without cutting anything out).

- Microbiome reset through testing and targeted probiotic support


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I support my clients with navigating the above in Quantum Health Coaching Sessions.


Another possible health condition correlated with stress is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Irritable bowel syndrome is a gastrointestinal disorder that results in abdominal pain and abnormal bowel movements. This diagnosis has linked mental health and gut health, now referred to as the gut-brain axis. Now, how do the two correlate? Well, when experiencing stress the gut barrier’s permeability is compromised as it increases. In other words, this barrier is now “allowing bacteria to seep into circulation, producing an inflammatory response”, called a ‘leaky gut’. To really break this down, the bacteria that have entered the gut release metabolites, toxins, and neurohormones that then alter the way one digests food. When our bodies undergo stress, the consumption of unhealthy food surges. With this excessive food consumption, a dysfunctional composition of gut bacteria tends to thrive making one more susceptible to IBS. With that said, the importance of regulating stress is important for your physical and mental health and should be cared for.


For more information on how to book a consultation with me or a free clarity call follow the link here.




Citations


Madison, A., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2019). Stress, depression, diet, and the gut microbiota: human-bacteria interactions at the core of psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition. Current opinion in behavioral sciences, 28, 105–110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.01.011

O’Mahony, S. M., Clarke, G., Dinan, T. G., & Cryan, J. F. (2017). Irritable bowel syndrome and stress-related psychiatric co-morbidities: focus on early life stress. Gastrointestinal Pharmacology, 219-246.

Patterson, E. (2022, September 5). Stress Facts and Statistics. The Recovery Village. https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/stress/stress-statistics/#:~:text=American%20Institute%20of%20Stress%20Statistics&text=77%20percent%20of%20people%20experience,trouble%20sleeping%20because%20of%20stress


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