6 Intense Ways Stress Impacts Your Gut HealthJun 28, 2021
I think we can all agree that the past year was the most stress-inducing we have encountered. You may not have noticed this taking a toll on your gut health. Leaving us in poorer health, mentally, emotionally, and physically. If the past year has left you feeling anxious, nervous, and restless your gut health could potentially be at risk, and here’s why.
Considering all that this past year has brought I think it is safe to say that stress has been the one of the main culprits of our issues. Because of the ever-changing circumstances, your gut has probably gone haywire. This is due to all the external stressors taking a toll on your internal functions. Let me explain.. as I’m sure you’ve heard or maybe you haven’t; stress puts just as much of a physical strain on the body as well as mental or emotional.
Furthermore, we see this through body flushes, knots in the body, headaches, and many more. You see when your hormones are out of wack and your cortisol rises—the stress-producing hormone— the body quickly becomes depleted. Because stress is so closely linked to many imbalances throughout the body it should be taken into consideration if your mood and digestion have been feeling a little off due to this following year’s adversities. This is the case because your gut health and brain are oddly in sync.
Due to the gut-brain axis, we know that your gut is in constant communication with your brain through neurotransmitters and the vagus aka the nerve connecting them both. Which makes sense when you’re experiencing any kind of anxiousness or trauma that your body would react in such a way that isn’t as pleasing to deal with. More specifically let me get into greater detail about why this tends to be the case!
How Stress Has Affected Your Gut
You see, your “gut,” referred to as your gut microbiome is the powerhouse for many of your bodily functions. Also known as the “second brain,” your gut essentially takes on the role of another organ in the body. Thus having the responsibility of keeping the digestive tract and therefore the rest of the body at equilibrium.
Hence, it can be easily thrown off when it isn’t in homeostasis aka stress; when the stress-producing hormone cortisol kicks in. This can wreak havoc on the gut causing a warehouse of issues such as digestive complications, mental exhaustion, and weight fluctuation. From bloating, diarrhea, to irregular bowel movement these are just some of the ways stress can manifest itself in physical forms through the body. Along with mood changes, fatigue, and anxiety all stemming from an imbalance in the gut microbiome. And because of the “gut-brain,” connection the more stressed you become the more stress will be on the gut and vice-versa. But no worries there is still hope for anyone looking to recover their gut health.
Some Ways to Destress & Recover Your Gut
Take a probiotic! Studies have shown taking probiotics has shown a significant reduction of anxiety and depression which correlates to better overall mental well-being. Go outside, get some fresh air. Soaking up the sun and getting in that regular dose of vitamin D can help alleviate some of those everyday pressures and get your mind in a better and happier state. Get in some gentle exercise and movement! Try going for a walk, practicing yoga, or even just moving in a way that you enjoy! The point is gentle exercise and movement can do wonders for your health and help reduce the everyday stressors we encounter. I hope this helps you!