Gut health linked to mental well-being — study
A new global study has reinforced the link between mental health and gut bacteria and indicates that a diet rich in many different types of vegetables may contribute to improved health.
The global crowd-sourced study by the University of California of over 11 000 participants found that those who ate more than 30 different plant types a week had gut microbiomes (eco-systems) that were more diverse than those who ate 10 or fewer types of plants per week. A high diversity of gut bacteria is believed to be a sign of a healthy gut which in turn impacts on overall health.
Researchers also found that respondents with mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder had more bacteria in common with others who reported similar problems, strengthening the link between mental health and gut bacteria.
Previous research has highlighted a connection between anxiety and the absence of certain healthy gut microbes, while another study found that certain gut bacteria are altered in people with PTSD. The gut is the open-ended tube leading from the mouth to the anus which includes the bowel.
The study follows a review of research on the common inflammatory gut disorder Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which indicated that IBS symptoms may be alleviated through a regular meal pattern, using a nutraceutical such as turmeric extract, curcumin, and avoiding gluten, excessive fructose, lactose and gas-producing foods.
Curcumin has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for abdominal pain and inflammation and has shown in clinical studies to play a positive role in inflammatory bowel disorders. In a clinical trial, curcumin helped induce remission in patients with colitis (inflammation of the colon), while another study suggested curcumin decreased abdominal pain and improved quality of life of IBS patients.
Health expert, Vanessa Ascencao says highly bioavailable turmeric extract, Bio-Curcumin with BCM-95 (a potent extract containing the full spectrum of turmeric oils), has proven to counter inflammation, adding that a study shows that the combined use of curcumin and essential turmeric oils, such as those in BCM-95, may protect against colitis.
Ascencao suggests the following additional tips to help fight inflammation and improve gut health:
- Take a good probiotic or increase intake of fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt or sauerkraut
- Eat more fresh, whole food such as organic vegetables and fruit
- Increase intake of anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger or rosemary
- Increase intake of high quality omega 3 such as Purest Omega 3
- Eliminate processed and sugary food
- Get enough good quality sleep, exercise daily and manage stress
- Take a high quality anti-inflammatory supplement like Bio-Curcumin with BCM-95