How Does Mental Health Affect Your Gut and Your Immune System?

The human body's components, organs, and cells all operate in unison to allow you to perform all of your voluntary and involuntary physiological functions. You wouldn't be able to function correctly if one of them was damaged—they're all connected in some way.

You may not realise it, but your mental health and gut health are linked, and together they maintain a healthy immune system. You might be wondering how your mood and a component of your digestive system might assist your body in fighting illness. In this post, we'll go through it in detail.

It Starts With What You Eat

The detrimental effects of an unhealthy diet on physical health are well-documented. The influence of food on mental health, on the other hand, is less well-known and considered. However, there is evidence to support the latter. 

A diminishing hippocampus, an area of the brain important for emotion, memory, and learning, is linked to depression. According to research led by Australian experts, the hippocampus was shown to be smaller among people who did not consume the required amount of daily nutrients. More significantly, this research showed that these eating habits were connected to a higher risk of depression over time.

Mental Illness and the Gut Microbiome

Apart from the reasons described above, the stomach plays a role in developing mental issues because it communicates with the brain via the bidirectional "gut-brain axis." In fact, the stomach produces 80 percent of serotonin. The feel-good hormone is responsible for your happiness and enjoyment of life. When serotonin levels are low, it has been related to depression and mood disorders, and it is the most common target of antidepressant medicines like SSRIs.

How Depression Affects the Immune System

People with depression were found to have more inflammatory markers in their blood and were more likely to have an imbalance of gut bacteria, indicating a link between mental health and gut health.

In a nutshell, a person who suffers from depression and has an unbalanced gut produces more stress hormones. This lowers the level of a growth factor known as the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is also seen in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Furthermore, this increases inflammation, a reaction of your body's immune system to a sickness.

How to Maintain a Healthy Body and Mind 

There are measures to prevent this problem, just as there are for any other health risk. You must, in essence, enhance your nutrition. Processed and takeout meals, typically nutrient-poor and rich in sugar and salt, are linked to poor mental health and can cause problems with your gut and immune system.

You may enhance your mental and physical health by eating more veggies, beans, fruits, olive oil, fish, whole grains, and fermented food.

Conclusion

When it comes to taking care of your body, you must take a holistic approach and consider all its aspects. In terms of your gut, it houses around 80 per cent of your immune system, and it is the primary cause of fevers and inflammation to protect your body from infection. In addition, the gut produces the majority of serotonin, a neurotransmitter present in the brain. As a result, you must take precautions by eating nutritious foods and optimising your overall diet. This minor adjustment in your lifestyle can have a significant impact on your physical and health.

If you are looking for a health and wellness centre that can help you with your medical concerns, Unichem Greenhithe Pharmacy can help you. We offer a range of treatments and options for you to achieve the best health solutions. Our pharmacists have training from the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental medicine, so talk to our experts now!