Is Your Poor Gut Health Ruining Your Relationship?

7 minute read

There is more to the saying 'trust your gut' then just following your instincts about a relationship. Your gut is intrinsically tied to your brain so digestive and emotional health is strongly linked.

Your gut is more than just a food digesting machine; it houses the bacteria that are responsible for mental health, sleep, and weight gain and food cravings. this means that if your gut is unhappy, you are unhappy, and no relationship can fare well if one someone is not happy.

The Gut-Brain Connection

When you are healthy, your intestines are also healthy. The gut has a bi-directional communication axis that allows it to communicate with the brain. Good strains of bacteria have been found to reduce levels of anxiety.

However, when the vagus nerve is cut, which is the central connection between the brain and gut, the effect is blocked.  This indicates that the bacteria in our gut use this communication axis to talk to the brain. Once these bacteria are not able to signal that they are healthy and happy, the brain interprets this as anxiety.  

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The connection is simple; a positive state of mind helps digestion and a healthy digestive system contributes to a balanced state of mind. Certain bacterial strains have been linked to depression and anxiety.

Although it is not clear what constitutes a 'healthy gut' in terms of bacterial count, the presence of certain strains can cause a more negative impact on mood and emotions. It is therefore understandable that a person suffering from digestive problems may suffer from depression and, therefore, can damage their relationships without realizing the reason.

How Your Gut Gets Out of Balance

You now know that your brain and gut are talking and the messages are clearly negative. What you don't know is how that happened. To successfully address the problem of an unhealthy mind and gut, you first need to understand how your gut became unbalanced. There are a number of factors that can affect the health of your gut but only one outcome; you get sick.

Poor Diet: Society today thrives on high-sugar, low-fiber, processed food diets which are basically toxic for your digestive system. When nutrients are low, pathogenic bacteria are allowed to take over the gut causing an imbalance. Poor digestion means food is not broken down correctly, nor absorbed and the result is toxic build-up.  

Medications: Over-reliance or use of medications can interfere with your body's natural responses. Antibiotics kill off good bacteria as well as infectious ones, so overuse will essentially deplete your good stores and allow bad strains to flourish. Additionally, acid blockers and anti-inflammatory medications prohibit the body's natural functions and cause upset.

Allergies: When allergies or food intolerances go undetected, they cause harm to your gut and can gradually cause tears in the intestinal walls. Particles that leak through these gaps are detected as foreign in the body and an excessive inflammatory response is released. Uncontrolled inflammation is the number one cause of many serious diseases.

Infections: Chronic or low-grade infections or gut imbalances cause an overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines, which leads to more serious infections.

Toxins: Toxic substances like mercury and mold damage the gut.

Enzymes: A lack of adequate enzyme function can be caused by zinc deficiency or acid-blocking medications. Enzymes are essential for the proper breakdown and absorption of food, so without them, more waste is left in the gut for bad bacteria to thrive on.

Stress: Stress causes an imbalance in the nervous systems as hormones are released, potentially leading to autoimmune diseases as bacteria begin to change in the gut.

What You Can Do

Now that you realize that your digestive system could be causing your emotional and mental health problems, you can target the problem at its source. here are a few natural remedies worth trying to get your digestion back on track and get you more balanced.

Whole foods: Making sure you eat unprocessed foods with plenty of fiber helps to keep digestion on track. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains to keep gut bacteria balanced and digestive processes smooth.

Medicinal plants: Some medicinal plants have certain relaxing properties that can calm us and regulate our nervous systems. The best ones are lemon balm, passionflower, lavender, and valerian.

Treat infections: If you suffer from any intestinal parasites, overgrowth of yeast infections, you need to first treat these before you can heal.  Once the infection is gone, you can make the changes you need to your diet to support a healthy digestive tract.

Food allergies: Try to identify any food allergies and if you suspect anything, consult your physician right away. The sooner they are detected, the sooner you can change your diet and remove the foods causing the damage. The best way to identify food intolerances or sensitivities is through an elimination test.

Natural supplements: You can take probiotic supplements or find foods that are great for balancing the nervous system such as nuts, green vegetables, dates, chickpeas, and bananas.

Enzymes: Aging naturally depleted our enzyme stores but they can easily be replaced with supplements. You want to take a broad-spectrum supplement so you can properly convert food into the raw materials your body and brain need.

Avoid irritants: Just as there are foods you want to look for, there are those you want to avoid. Coffee, soda, alcohol, additives, and sugars all irritate or alter your nervous and digestive systems.

Good fat: Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, by eating fish or certain oils. Omega-3 is beneficial for your heart and act as an anti-inflammatory agent to cool any heat in the gut caused by a bacterial imbalance.

Exercise: Be sure to get physical exercise at least three times a week.  The intensity level does not matter as much as keeping your body moving.

Heal your gut: Taking glutamine and zinc are the best ways to heal a leaky or damaged gut. Once the lining has healed, your gut can resume its normal function and you can follow up with continued care.

The Bottom Line

Digestive and emotional health are strongly linked to gut health. Your gut health is impacted by a positive attitude and a healthy digestive system keeps you calm and in a good state of mind. There are numerous causes for an imbalanced digestive system but there are also multiple changes you can make that will ultimately improve your emotional and gut health.

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