Stress and Gut Health

stress and gut healthStress is basically your biggest nemesis in life, besides capitalism and the patriarchy of course. Unlike the latter 2 problems, you can actually manage your stress. Some people think meditation, eating properly and exercising take up a lot of time. Which they do! But, you can either put in the time now, or pay for it later. 

Stress can cause major short and long term digestive issues. Simply put, when your body is faced with physical or psychological stress, it goes into an adaptive state in order to improve the likelihood of survival.2 That’s the thing many people don’t realize, our bodies can’t distinguish between your boss getting mad at you, and a bear chasing your threw the forest. It’s all interpreted as a threat to survival. 

 

Rid your body of regular stress

stress and gut health

Just imagine the toll your body takes every single time you’re in a traffic jam, running late or dealing with personal issues or family emergencies. These are all called stressors. Stressors don’t have to be big things, and in most cases the small everyday ones are just as or more harmful than one traumatic life event. Think about it; every time you face a stressor (which is likely multiple times of day if you live in the 21st century) you have a choice.

You can either:

A: Pay no attention to your body’s responses to this situation, and put your body through what is scientifically referred to as an acute threat to homeostasis. Acute is defined as ‘A difficult or unwelcomed situation’ And yes, it’s an intense process for your body to go through. 

B: OR, wild thought here, practice techniques to calm your body which will deter it from going into survival mode. And who wants that?

Obviously B requires practice, education and implementation, but it’s so worth it. And here’s why; stressors or rather the way we react to them, can cause extreme destruction to your immune and digestive systems. Overtime, this can cause chronic illnesses and disease, as well as just make life way less enjoyable. 

 

Your gut and stress

stress and gut healthThe reason stress so heavily affects your gut health is because the body’s central nervous system and the gut are very closely connected. These two systems communicate via the autonomic nervous system (ANS), the hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis and several other pathways via signals from the brain. All of this means when the brain is under stress, naturally your digestive tract is alarmed right away. This means your digestion is temporarily compromised or put into ‘survival mode’ so other senses and bodily functions can be heightened or improved. This might be why one study shows anger greatly affects acid secretion in the stomach,  in a negative way. Meaning acid build up occurs more when your body experiences regular or chronic anger.3 

Additionally it’s well known the microbacteria in your gut contribute to overall health. Some people actually refer to your gut as a second brain, thus weighting a diverse and healthy gut flora even more! In simpler terms: The more gut bacteria you have, and the more diverse it is, the better your overall health will be. Sadly, stress has shown to negatively alter the bacteria in your stomach, which in some cases can even be irreversible over time.

 

Gut in a rut – what this means for you

stress and gut health

Lack of gut flora/bacteria means your stomach can’t absorb nutrients as well, or perhaps not at all! So in theory you could be eating a ton of delicious, nutrient dense foods, but your body can’t actually absorb or use any of the nutrients. It’s like when you were a kid and got a brand new toy for your birthday, you were so stoked! Unfortunately you noticed it needed batteries and nobody had thought of this, so you couldn’t even play with your new toy! This is what could happen to your gut. Do you want to give your tummy brand new toys it can’t even use?! No?? Then listen up and keep reading. 

Additionally poor responses to stress can release many inflammatory mediators into your stomach, because remember your body thinks it’s under attack.1 The more inflammation in your body, the higher the chances of disease and illness, additionally this response can allow bad bacteria to build up.5 Irreversible health complications due to chronic stress can even show up in MRI’s.6  This means there is physical proof that regular stress can actually cause such terrible damage to your digestive system, it’s permanent. 

 

The good news (yes there is good news!)

stress and gut health

When your gut is healthy and thriving, you will be too!

Our recommendations for adapting to stressful situations like a BOSS:

 

Healing foods

stress and gut health

Eating an assortment of live foods will help diversify the bacteria in your belly. Fermented foods contain a ton of gut healthy bacteria. Tempeh, sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir are excellent foods to regularly incorporate in your diet. 

An all food supplement consisting of live organic plant foods will give your body the bioavailable food diversity it needs to improve overall gut health. Eating more organic fruits and vegetables is something we could all work towards. Luckily our PureFood A to Z makes it easy to eat the important veggies like kale, collard, mushrooms and carrots, while also giving you more unique superfoods that can be tricky to find or overpriced due to a surge in popularity. These include; moringa, sesbania, holy basil and mustard seeds.

 

More about why our multi is different 

stress and gut health

The above ingredient combo is only half the story, in total our nutritional multi powder contains over 20 organic plant foods! These ingredients aren’t random by the way, they were handpicked by our Formulator and Founder; Dr. David Wang. Each cold processed food works together in a synergistic way to provide your body with nutrients that might not otherwise be available due to the chemistry of the food. Compounds like anti-nutrients and phytates prevent your body from accessing the full nutritional profile of some foods. Obviously we got your back and created our products with this in mind. How do we do what we do? We consider ourselves to be the perfect mix of farmer’s market loyalists, and science loving chemistry nerds! 

 

References: 

1 http://jpp.krakow.pl/journal/archive/12_11/pdf/591_12_11_article.pdf

2 Selye H. Syndrome produced by diverse nocuous agents. Nature 1936; 138: 32.

3 Beaumont W. Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion. Edinburgh, Maclachlan and Stewart, 1838.

4 Rhee SH, Pothoulakis C, Mayer EA. Principles and clinical implications of the brain-gut-enteric microbiota axis. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2009; 6: 306-314.

5 https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/chronic-diseases-caused-by-chronic-inflammation-require-chronic-treatment-2155-9899.1000238.php?aid=28021

6 Elsenbruch S, Rosenberger C, Enck P, Forsting M, Schedlowski M, Gizewski ER. Affective disturbances modulate the neural processing of visceral pain stimuli in irritable bowel syndrome: an fMRI study. Gut 2010; 59: 489-495.