Is your gut writing checks your brain can not cash?

It seems like a lifetime ago that I used to eat buckets of red licorice to help me stop fretting over CJ's illness and think nothing of it … I honestly had no idea what harm I was really doing.

If someone would have told me that my gut was really the one steering my ship and not my brain, I would have laughed. But it's true, you are not in control of your life if your body is filled with bad bacteria. I decided to take control of mine. How about you? I consider this article life changing to learn.

You may take this for granted, and it might sound silly to ask, but do you often feel overwhelmed? Plagued with anxiety and panic attacks to the point that you can not function half as well as you really should? Do you know things just are not right?

Worse yet, do you have no idea why you feel this way?

Nobody likes to talk about mental illness, and no one wants to believe their stress might be a more serious problem. Unfortunately, mental disease is an often-silent terror that's severely misunderstood, and as a result, is not deal with the way it should be. Prescription pills are the common solution, but medication should never be the first option – it only masks the problem, leaving you numb and clueless as to what was going wrong in the first place.

This has to change, and it has to change soon. Thankfully, I discovered that you can combat the scourge of mental illness right from your kitchen.

A new study has just confirmed what my family and I found out some time ago – that your digestive health has a direct and significant impact on your mental health and behavior.

The study was done by McMaster University and found that when gut bacteria are disrupted, the body experiences an increase of brain derived neutrotrophic factor (BDNF) that has been linked to depression and anxiety.

Furthermore, it confirmed that when gut bacteria are restored to their natural, optimal state, brain function returned to normal and the symptoms of depression and anxiety vanished.

This is not the only way your digestion affects your mental health: bipolar disease, savage road rage, out of control PMS symptoms – all of these extreme emotional implosions and explosions can be caused by a lack of neurotransmitters in our brains and bodies. These neurotransmitters are fueled by amino acids, which can only be delivered to your body through a properly functioning digestive system. As such, if your digestive system is out of whack, you're probably short on amino acids and there before your neurotransmitters are likely shot – it's a dangerous situation that can potentially open the door to all kinds of mental health trouble.

If you're confused or frustrated, do not worry. It's really very simple.

What I always say is “Be good to your gut, and it will be good to you.” Think of it as your body's processing system – it's where your food is digested, and where so many of the nutrients, minerals and amino acids you need are extracted or created before being redistributed around your body, especially to your brain. Specifically, it's the gut bacteria (what I like to call your “gut bugs”) that that live in your digestive system that is responsible for carrying out this processing work. If your “gut bugs” are depleted – as seen in the study – your body has no way to get what it needs, and regular functions like your mental health may easily deteriorate.

So how are you destroying those helpful “gut bugs”? Antibiotics do it, as can stress and environment, but the sad truth is that the average American diet of processed foods does plenty of damage all on its own, slowly killing your supply of “gut bugs” without replacing them. You can address this by adding more fresh foods and quality probiotics to your diet to replenish your supply of friendly gut bacteria. In turn, this will boost your body full of beneficial amino acids that will set your brain on a path to calm and healing.

The wonders of probiotics are just being discovered by modern medicine, but many ancient cultures understood and harnessed this power through fermented foods, many of which are still with us today. We've developed a series of fermented, probiotic drinks that are a tasty, refreshing addition to your family's diet and can restore the good bacteria in your belly.

May was Mental Health Month, and there sadly was not enough discourse to be found about the impact of diet and digestion on mental health. Based on figures reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the year 2020 will see mental disorders surpass physical as as leading cause of disability worldwide. As we get closer to that date, we'll hopefully see more studies linking mental health and digestion, but you should not wait until then. By paying closer attention to what you're putting in your body, you can greatly reduce the chances of mental disease in your family, as well as the overwhelming frustration and anxiety hijacking your thoughts and feelings every day. It's not a burden you have to live with.

If you take care of your gut, it will take care of you!