Using the Gut/Brain Connection to Find Relief from Chronic Fatigue
Leaky gut refers to a hyperpermeability — literally a “leaking” — of the gut, of compounds other than nutrients into the bloodstream. Once these toxins and inflammatory agents enter the body they can result in a host of chronic illnesses and conditions, including some that might surprise you: depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue.
How? Via the gut/brain connection. We’ve long known — and it makes sense — that issues with leaky gut are associated with many problems of the gastrointestinal system, but as science reveals more and more about the body’s “second brain,” the gut, we have learned that GI issues can affect the entire body, even areas we wouldn’t consider to be in any way connected to the gut. It is logical that healing leaky gut may also bring healing to other issues as well.
In fact, it’s been proven. Research has shown that by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet (inflammation is one of the leading causes of intestinal over permeability,) leaky gut patients who also suffered from chronic fatigue noticed a reversal in symptoms associated with both syndromes. In other words, when their leaky gut was healed, they showed improvement in issues associated with mood, including less fatigue, malaise and depression.
The prefix “neuro” is usually associated with the nervous system, but what many people don’t realize is that the gut has a nervous system of its own, one that plays a key role in a person’s mental and emotional state. That’s right, our digestive tracts are filled with millions of important neurotransmitters that do way more than digest our food.
In addition, the intestines are home to our personal microbiome, a scientific name for the colony of bacteria that lives in our intestines and helps to process foods and strengthen our immunity, among other things. Poor diet and lifestyle choices, stress and overuse of medications over time can upset the balance of good vs. bad bacteria leaving us more susceptible to a variety of illnesses and conditions.
Once we compromise the integrity of the microbiome to the extent of leaky gut, the neurotransmitters that share that space will signal stress to the brain, causing depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. In other words, irritable bowel equals irritable mind.
If you suffer from the symptoms of chronic fatigue, depression or anxiety that can’t be explained by any other condition, whether or not you also have GI issues, talk to us about tracking your gut/brain connection to find lasting relief.