Why Gut Health Is Mental Health

What scientists are uncovering about the gut-brain connection.

Healthcare entrepreneurs have something in common. Each one shares a story of a personal health scare or concern for a loved one’s health that spurred their ambition to not only heal themselves, but to set up companies that aim to help others perform at their best.

So what does this have to do with your gut and mental health? In my 90-day journey to regain my health and wellbeing, I interviewed some of these healthcare pioneers to help me discover what I needed to do to biohack my body and mind, and my journey began by first healing my gut.

Scientists like Dr. Michael Gershon, a professor of pathology and cell biology and father of neurogastroenterology, adamantly believe that we have a second brain in our gut. In fact, he states there is bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain. With more than 100 million nerve cells lining our intestinal walls, it’s no wonder that when we disrupt the bacteria in this region with antibiotics, poor diet and toxic environment, it creates a neuropsychiatric effect influencing our mood and mental health.

Suffering from depression, anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia and intestinal distress, I couldn’t put the pieces together until I interviewed Richard Lin, CEO of microbiome wellness company Thryve Inside. His story was very similar to mine, and so I had him send me Thryve’s easy-to-use home test kit. Thryve then determined my wellness based on several gut health parameters: how diverse the species of bacteria was in my gut, the balance of good versus bad bacteria and how I compared with healthy people. I was shocked when my results came in. I was depleted in a bacterium called bacteroides. The latest research has shown patients with depression have fewer bacteroides in their gut.

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