The nine pillars that link the microbiota to mental health

Every October 10 world mental health day, which encompasses our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act, and also helps determine how we deal with stress, how we relate to others and how we make decisions.

Mental health is important at all stages of life, from childhood and adolescence to adulthood, but if there’s ever a time when it really matters, it’s today. That is, since the Covid-19 pandemic entered our lives, we have been wearing more psychological problems that affect other aspects of our personality, such as the microbiota.

With the pandemic, Spain has prescribed more than twice as many psychoactive drugs.

During detention, 46% of people participating in the study reported psychological discomfort, 30% panic attacks, 60% felt depressed and 40% had problems sleeping. Depression and anxiety have increased significantly and in this context Dr. Sari Arponen and Olala Otero warn that much of this high incidence can be avoided with proper lifestyle and focus on microbiotic balance.

Brain and microbiota united

“There is a connection between our gut microbiota and the brain, so we can improve brain and mental health, among other interventions, modulation of the microbiota. Not only can a poor diet damage the microbiota, but drug abuse or infection can change the composition of our microbiota and affect this gut-brain axis,” explains Olala Otero.

It was obviously a revolution to realize that between our brains and our guts there is two-way communication this is great. “Our gut bacteria produce neuroactive substances, such as hormones or neurotransmitters, that are capable of influencing the functioning of the central nervous system,” says Otero.

That is, “that both prolonged stress in the time characteristic of our society, as emotional management in general has a direct impact on the composition of the microbiota, while our gut “bugs” have an impact on brain function».

What can we do

Some of our habits are harmful to our brain health. For this reason, Drs. Arponen and Otero offer a brain health and microbiota puzzle with the following pieces:

1. Heart rhythm: improper sleep and changing the natural rhythm of sleep can affect the microbiota and vice versa, since our bacteria affect the production of neurotransmitters, such as melatonin.

two. environmental toxins: heavy metals, pesticides, microplastics and even some food additives change the composition of the microbiota.

3. chronic stress: chronic stress puts our immune system on constant alert, favoring inflammation and disrupting the balance of the microbiota.

Four. Eating: depending on what our diet is, so will our microbiota. It should be rich, varied, with real food, seasonal and rich in prebiotic foods, the food of our bacteria.

5. Exercise: sport manages to reduce pathogenic bacteria and increase other beneficial ones, such as Akkermansia (associated with metabolism and weight loss) or bifidobacteria.

6. Socialization: the exchange of microorganisms with our congeners (even with our pets) endows us with a richer and healthier microbiota.

7. Contact with nature: staying in diverse green spaces such as forests helps to tolerate stress better.

8. super medicine: Drugs and antibiotics have a direct impact on our gut bacterial community.

9. Psychobiotics: Generation IV human probiotics formulated with specific strains capable of influencing brain function. They are an effective therapeutic tool for influencing the gut-brain axis.

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