Anxiety, Gut Microbes, & Nutrition, Unexpected Improvements:
Tracking down any kind of health-hiccup can be a bit of a trial, no matter what it is.
And one of the most difficult things to fix is your mind, where the recommendations become less obvious.
As SCIENCE improves, it’s finding increasingly strange evidence and solutions.
Like the kind of stuff the crazy Meditation crowd has been telling us for the past few thousand years.
And the best friends of the Meditators are the Yoga & Yogurt wingnuts, who just might be on to something, if a review by Chinese doctors is right…
Yet Another Variable In The Fight For Mental Health:
Let’s all just admit it, Hippies all seem gullible and nuts at the same time.
And granola never seems as powerful as a good ole-fashioned American drug!
Who needs to worry about things like Hemp, recycling, and the musical-stylings of Jack Johnson when you can just pop a pill?
Except for the times when they might be right.
Because the short answer for this work is STJU researchers looked at a collection of studies and found that both Probiotics, and also other influences like Diet had a very significant impact on the amount of Anxiety a person experienced!
Read on to find out more details…
Can’t We Just Pop A Pill?:
So what the hell is going on here?
If you want to fix Anxiety, you just pop a Lexapro, or if you’re really edgy a high-power Jarrow 5-HTP.
You don’t mess-around with anything past just the basics with nutrition.
Cut down on the Excess Sugar, Fast Carbs, Omega 6, and Ultra Processed-Foods.
That and losing any body-fat above 15% is about all you need,
Maybe The IBS & Celiac Guys Were Onto Something:
Well, maybe not.
So as usual, our understanding of things was probably a bit lacking in the early-stages.
In the Very early-stages it was perhaps better, with a genius like Hippocrates advising us all to treat food like a medicine.
But until recently, many of us thought things like food-allergies were just for things like Peanuts.
And maybe yogurt was just for yoga ladies who had trouble with poop, like Jamie-Lee Curtis and her Activia.
But people following hyper-restrictive diets for things like IBS and Celiac disease may have really been onto something.
The Set Of Probiotic Study Reviews Were Interesting:
Because in the current work Jiao Tong U. researchers reviewed 21 studies across 1500+ subjects, on the effects of different alimentary inputs on Anxiety.
Among them were 14 studies on Probiotics.
Still weirder, the 7 remaining studies were on dietary changes that had a different intestinal effect.
What they found was pretty surprising.
52% of the studies on Probiotics showed some positive-effect on Anxiety by the addition of between 1 and 3 strains of good bacteria.
The most-extreme results however, were only experienced by just over 1/3 of the probiotic study subjects.
Microbes & Anxiety, The Gut-Brain Axis:
This, as you would have read before, very-likely comes from what is called either the “Gut Brain”, “The Second Brain”, or “The Gut-Brain Axis”,
As your vagus nerve runs right through your GI-tract and shares information very quickly with your brain about your nutrition and gut health.
Now the effects of the human microbiome in your gut have recently been theorized,
We didn’t know how much your brain is connected to all the information they put out so intimately.
It’s apparently not just about how much food you eat, or even just what.
It’s also about how your gut Responds to what you eat, and what chemicals & by-products it makes as a result of that,
And also the number, type, and mixture of different microbes living in it as a result.
But The Non-Probiotic Studies Were Even More Interesting:
Now here’s the real kicker.
The greatest positive-results in all the studies the docs examined, did not come from Yogurt & Probiotic capsules.
They came from freaking DIETARY CHANGES!
Specifically, doctors swiped the idea from the IBS & Celiac crowd and used a new set of foods that are more easily digested,
And also digested earlier, leaving fewer products to go further down your GI tract.
That way of approaching the problem had an 86% positive-impact on people suffering from Anxiety!
So it would seem again, that your gut is in-fact REALLY communicating with your brain in unforeseen ways.
Even the doctors in this review, as great as it is, said that this is still a little preliminary,
Because there is almost ZERO scientific work on how diet affects Anxiety.
Diet’s Effects On Anxiety & Depression:
But there is some on how it affects Depression.
We’ve covered it before, and what it states is that for some cases,
People with excess systemic Inflammation in their bodies,
From things like too much Omega-6 Oils, Too Few Omega-3 Oils, Too much processed-foods, and Too much inflammation from bodyfat,
End up depressed.
Worse still is the fact that sugar makes you fatter, but it temporarily gives you a Serotonin-boost.
So depressed people getting sugar in their diet are basically heroin-like drug-addicts.
And that inflammation Does in-fact make its way up to the brain, hurting it and making them more depressed.
It’s a tough roller-coaster to get off of.
Stealthy Problems And Weird Diets:
Well, if you don’t know about all this potential diet weirdness and you have Anxiety,
You might not even know you were on a roller-coaster to begin with.
Now, the set of Restrictions and Allowances the studies used is very tight.
And for people with things like IBS, any mistakes could result in major inflammatory consequences.
So undertaking them as an Anxious person is not to be taken lightly.
-Especially since it implies a reduction in dietary & insoluble Fiber.
But the diet with the greatest effects on it was something called the Low-FODMAP Diet.
This type of plan restricts a lot of Sugars and Carbs that pull water into your GI-tract,
But the key is they are not well-digested in your small-intestine,
And those largely-unprocessed remnants can make it into your large-intestine,
Where their parts can be changed into odd by-products by the microbes living there.
The Low-FODMAP Diet’s Crazy Restrictions:
A few of these Restricted foods are:
• Fruits: Dried Fruits, “Stone” or even Seeded Fruits, like Avocados, Apricots, Peaches, Apples, etc.
• Vegetables: Onions, Garlic, Mushrooms, Peas, Beans, Legumes, Soy
• Grains: Wheat, Barley, Rye, Cereals, Most Bread
• Dairy: Most High-Lactose Dairy, Including Yogurt (strangely enough)
• Meats: Processed meats
• Sugars, Confections: Honey, HFCS, -OL-based Sweeteners like Sorbitol, Mannitol, etc.
• Nuts: Cashews, Pistachios
• Beverages, Other: Fruit Juices
By-contrast, many of the Allowed foods include:
• Fruits: Bananas, Blueberries, Citrus, Raspberries, Cantaloupe, Grapes, Kiwi, Oranges, Pineapple, Strawberries
• Vegetables: Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Squash, Eggplant, Green Beans, Bok Choy, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Cucumber, Lettuce, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Corn
• Grains: Corn flakes, Oats, Quinoa, Rice, Spelt bread
• Dairy: Almond milk, Brie, Feta, Hard Cheeses, Rice milk, Butter, Eggs
• Meats: Poultry, Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Pork, Turkey, Some Fish, Seafood, Firm Tofu
• Sugars, Confections: Dark Chocolate, Maple Syrup, Rice Malt Syrup, Limited Alcohol, Brown Sugar
• Nuts: Pine Nuts, Pecans, Most Seeds, Macadamias, Peanuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Walnuts
• Beverages, Other: Coffee, Protein Powders, Weak Tea
A much more exhaustive list can be found at places like Monash University.
You May Have To Test & Tailor Your Own Personal Diet Solution:
Now comes the hard part: You will probably have to test yourself.
If you want to try something like this, as with all things, you should really be working with a Doctor &/or Nutritionist.
But the really tough part is, you are the frontier!
You will have to test yourself, probably using the Low-FODMAP plan as a base,
Then try other foods you might like to eat, and then see if you felt anxious at-all after a few hours.
Only then will you truly get a handle on the dietary-changes that follow in the spirit of the researchers’ work,
That actually work for you.
Not easy, but the most probable path forward to success.
The Weird Fix That Just Might Work Until We Get The Perfect Probiotic:
Because if researchers like Jinghong Chen are really onto something as much as they seem,
Then just chucking back-in foods that get weird in your large-intestine,
Creating compounds that make you anxious,
Is just like Depressed people eating sweets to make themselves feel temporarily better,
But ultimately less-healthy down the road.
And if crazy diet restrictions can work for someone like Mikhaila Peterson and all of her problems, then why not you?
Yes, it would just be easier if researchers could identify all the right probiotics and just invent a good old-fashioned pill to pop.
But for now, changing the gut microbiome through diet might be one of the best angles we have to reduce Anxiety, outside of prescription-meds.
Photo Credits: “Out adventuring in Playa del Ray, California”, by Marion Michele