Today I want to share with you why people with AI disease often struggle with depression, anxiety, low mood, mood swings and other mental health issues.
Remember how last week I talked about how a healthy gut is essential to good health: From managing flare-ups in your disease to healing your AI disease? (You can check it out here.)
Well, your gut has more than just a role to play in the inflammatory process….it is actually responsible for making many of your brain’s neurotransmitters which affect your mood! In fact, serotonin, sometimes called the “happy chemical” plays a massive role in mood management. It is “believed to help regulate mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function.” Not only that but a deficiency is linked to depression. The symptoms of serotonin deficiency include: difficulty sleeping, insomnia, aggression, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem & cravings for sweets or starchy foods.
When you think of the importance of this chemical in the body and your mood, you can believe that having a deficiency is going to totally affect your overall health and mood.
Did you also know that 90% of your body’s serotonin is made in your digestive tract? Doesn’t that make you think how important the health of your digestive tract is to your mood and physical health?
Medication & Serotonin –
Our medical system treats serotonin deficiency with SSRI drugs (they basically prevent serotonin from being reabsorbed into the body so that your serotonin levels stay high). I know there is a time and a place for medications such as SSRIs. You may need to be on them while you heal your gut so that your body can be in a place where you can function. But I’m really hoping that you hear that you can you approach serotonin deficiency more holistically, with the goal of increasing your own body’s ability to make serotonin and keep it elevated long-term.
How to increase your serotonin naturally –
Not only does exposure to natural light and exercising help improve mood, but healing your ‘leaky gut’ can actually improve serotonin deficiency and depressed mood. You not only need to change your diet, giving your body nutritious, wholesome, healing foods, but you also want to be sure that you remove toxins (whether it be allergenic foods, drugs, parasites, etc.) and create a healthy ecosystem in your gut so that your gut bacteria can make serotonin.
When I developed severe insomnia last year I realized I might be serotonin deficient months later. I ate reasonably healthy but also struggled with chronic joint pain. It wasn’t until I finally clued into the fact that my serotonin deficiency and inflammation where probably linked that I felt excited to know that I could do something to change that! I wasn’t as frustrated either by my lack of understanding of where my symptoms where coming from because now both could be linked to the health (or rather, lack) of my digestive tract. I’m now doing everything I can to heal my gut, provide my body with nourishing & healing foods, removing toxins from my system and supplementing with probiotic and fermented foods. I’ve noticed a huge difference!
My hope for you today is to realize that there is something YOU can do to bring about healing to your body. Long-term SSRIs or anxiety medication use doesn’t necessarily have to be your experience. Neither does chronic inflammation! You can take steps to heal your body, support your mood and reclaim your life!
Keep an eye for an upcoming post on foods to eat to heal your gut! You can also join my 21 day Total Body Reset Detox which gives you some foundational steps to beginning this journey – from reducing toxins in your body, to providing your body with healing foods and probiotics. If you are interested in learning more about how you can heal your body, reduce your anxiety or depression, don’t hesitate to contact me!