In good condition

Trust your gut: the relationship between digestive and mental health


Photo by Submitted

The writer of this column does not claim to know more than a licensed medical professional and all opinions are their own. For questions on prescription medicine or general mental health concerns, visit your local health clinic.

The phrase “Trust your gut” takes on quite a literal meaning when addressing a common health topic: your digestive tract.

The occasional stomach ache is one issue — but — the experience of immediate stomach pain after every meal was something I had to take a closer look at this fall. A solution to the pain was my only concern.

However, I soon realized there is more than meets the eye when addressing digestive health. Specifically — when the mind and body are evaluated together — declines in mental health can result in gut health issues.

It is no surprise that in the last months, I have experienced a mental health decline. With the unprecedented future of COVID-19, a new school year, work, friends and family — it seems a million and one things are always on my mind. 

With an increase in anxiety and the continual stomach pain, my doctor prescribed a probiotic supplement to take every day to balance both areas of my health.

A probiotic, defined by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, is a live microorganism that has health benefits when consumed into the body. They are found in foods as common as yogurt, fermented foods and now dietary supplements.

There are endless probiotic supplements out on the market. My personal choice is an over-the-counter alternative, but what matters most is the biology each probiotic includes.

Seed, an “ecosystem of scientists, doctors and innovators,” offers their own line of microbiome health products, including probiotics, prebiotics and altogether synbiotics that combine the two. 

Seed offers a “Daily Synbiotic” which includes both a probiotic and prebiotic supplement. The targeted benefits include; digestive health, skin health, gut immunity, gut integrity, heart health and micronutrient synthesis.

To provide even more accessibility toward probiotics — and other alternative supplements on the market — probiotics are available as gluten free, vegetarian and vegan. 

My own personal supplement — advertised toward women’s health — is vegetarian and gluten free, with a delivery of 20 billion viable cells of microbiome probiotic strains. 

Seed is not only a one-stop-shop for all things related to gut health, as it also sheds light on the potential of microbiome health and their mission to improve “human and planetary health.”

Research done by Seed and other medical institutions show healthy gut characteristics have been linked to the central nervous system and the brain. Illnesses with more common gut health connections include anxiety disorders, depressive disorders and levels of autism.

The two health concerns represent a symbiotic relationship, where one will affect the other.

Whether or not you purchase supplements from Seed, the company’s open dialogue around the probiotic industry and their scientific discoveries is worth examining.

After taking my own daily probiotic for over a month now — in addition to the support of additional mental health needs — I can confidently say my digestive health is on the upward climb. I no longer experience daily intestinal pain and somehow I feel more “fresh” after every daily pill.

While you may not understand all of the science behind a probiotic or digestive health, there are resources available to make the learning process that much easier.

If you begin to notice issues with your own mental health, maybe it’s time to “follow your gut” and see how interconnected the mind and body are.

Nelson can be reached at [email protected].