Issue 02.17.17 Your Intestinal Ecology – It's Effect on Behavior (Brain Biochemistry), Anxiety & Overall Emotional Health – Your Health Detective

When working with clients who are victims of emotional imbalances that include, but are limited to, anxiety, panic, and depression, we work together to help them balance Wholistically: body, mind and spirit.

Science has demonstrated the importance of cultivating a healthy intestinal ecology known as the – microbiota – those health-enhancing microorganisms in our digestive health – critical inhabitants   to achieve wellness.  

Research has now validated that the bacteria in your gut can directly affect your behavior, emotions and everything from the ability to lose excess weight to our immune responses. This might be surprising for many, however it’s a critical, and often overlooked factor in treating anxiety. Healing and restoring balance to one’s digestive tract, ideally with the help of a nutritionally-aware health professional like a certified Wholistic Rejuvenist practitioner, can make a huge difference in alleviating symptoms and overcoming imbalances…

Your digestive tract can be damaged by chronic stress, medication use (prescription and over-the-counter), exposure to foods that aren’t “real” food and have been chemically-altered, toxic environmental exposure, toxic dental products/restorations, etc., to name a few. In addition to the biological factors, other factors such as being in an unhealthy relationship, suffering from low self-esteem, struggling with panic attacks over needless worry about little things, all affect your intestinal ecology and therefore manifest throughout your body and mind.

No matter what the underlying issues of your anxiety, panic attacks or depression, experiencing it leaves you feeling isolated, down-right scared and mentally exhausted. When it comes to treating emotional distress, utilizing multiple agents of change is the most beneficial way to experience relief. For example, when treating anxiety, it’s extremely beneficial not only to receive therapy, but also to change your diet, exercise, use positive patterns of self-talk, self-discipline for self-care, introduction of relaxation techniques, and unconditionally understanding that we are what we eat!

Scientifically Speaking…

I believe the credit of this ground-breaking science, as it relates to the mind-gut connection, belongs to Dr. Michael Gershon. His work first highlighted the science of your gut bacteria and its effects on emotional health when he conducted laboratory research with rodents.

He was first prompted to study the connection because of his interest in serotonin; 90% of our serotonin is produced and manufactured in the gut! He wrote, The Second Brain, which describes the role of the digestive tract in regulating emotional health and decision making. Some fascinating research has been conducted to further his findings and methodologies. Researchers swapped the bacteria in anxious mice and fearless mice by changing diet, adding antibiotics or adding probiotics. They found that the timid mice actually started taking more risks and acting more gregarious and the opposite also happened: the fearless mice acted more timid. In a 2013 study published in the journal Gastroenterology, researchers studied the effects of probiotics in humans. After four weeks of ingesting probiotics, they scanned the brains of each participant. The researchers found subtle signs that the brain circuits involved in anxiety were less reactive.

But, how do the brain and the gut communicate? The brain and the gut are in constant communication via the vagus nerve, a large nerve that connects the two. The concept of “gut feeling” and “butterflies in your stomach” is a real thing! In a study conducted in Ireland, researchers found that when the vagus nerve was cut in mice, they no longer saw the brain respond based on changes to the rodent’s gut flora.  Scientists have also begun to study certain neurochemicals that have not been described before being produced by certain bacteria, thus suggesting that gut microbes can produce their own version of neurotransmitters. This is another way that gut microbes may communicate with the brain. Fascinating, right?!

How to nourish your intestinal ecology (digestive tract):

Limit processed foods, sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Choose fruits, veggies, gluten-free whole grains, beans, and lean proteins. Choose a sweet potato (any variety) instead of fries, eat half of your dessert rather than the whole plate, or order an open-faced sandwich. Changes should feel do-able, not overwhelming and anxiety producing!

  • Learn to Interpret Your “Body Talk”…

Notice how you feel after eating; take note of fatigue, bloating, anxiety, gas, reflux or any other symptoms that you might be experiencing. This will allow you to start mapping patterns and become aware of what foods might be troublesome for you. If you continually eat foods that don’t react well to your body, it can damage your delicate digestive lining (only the thickness of your eye lid) and create imbalance of good bacteria. Even if you usually sleep well and one night you don’t, go back and track what you consumed the previous 24-48 hours, often the clues to sleep disorders like unrestorative sleep or insomnia are in what we’ve consumed. If you occasionally need help with stress and sleep issues, consider a proprietary formula called StressLess Sleep™, it’s all natural non-habit-forming ingredients are formulated to take 1-2 capsules as needed during the day for stress and 2 at bedtime to help you get and stay asleep. To order contact the exclusive distributor, Natural Rejuvenation Solutions at (208) 255.5252 (Mon. – Thurs. 8: – 2: PT, closed Friday).

  • Eat foods rich in probiotics…

This can include yogurt, kefir, fermented foods and sauerkraut. If you aren’t able (or willing) to consume a good amount of fermented foods daily, supplement with professionally-formulated probiotic capsules. However, I have found in over thirty years of guiding clients to health that when the type and potency of the probiotic is rotated (by the bottle usually) it maintains its overall health benefits rather than just finding a brand you like and sticking with it. In my practice, I have clients rotate from 60 Billion to 150 Billion per capsule, just one a day. These formulas are available through the exclusive distributor of all products I use and recommend, the Natural Rejuvenation Solutions store, Click Here: Natural Rejuvenation Solutions Store for more information or to order.

Stress, particularly chronic long-term stress, damages your very thin digestive lining. Practice relaxation techniques, meditate, use positive self-talk and engage in activities that bring joy. Managing stress will help you to heal from the inside out and reduce anxiety symptoms.

One thing I learned from a dear friend that we should all keep in mind and live by, “You can afford anything in life except being around negative people because their negative consciousness tends to bring us down with them; whether we immediately realize it or not.” You can change everything suggested in this article but if you’re surrounded by negativity, it can be stronger than your efforts to overcome it. Just like “we are what we eat”, we are also products of the company we keep. The only “pill” that can help negativity is your determination to surround yourself with positive, supportive people! AND, remember that your gut microbiota react to negatively as well!


If you’ve never consulted with me, take advantage of the FREE 15-minute telephone consultation to help you with any of the above recommendations or specific supplement counsel. I place the call in over 100 countries and you schedule the date and time at any of the available appointments on my consulting calendar. CLICK HERE to schedule your Free 15 min Consultation.  This offer NOT AVAILABLE TO ANYONE WHO HAS CONSULTED WITH ME PREVIOUSLY, WHETHER AS A FREE CONSULT OR AS A FULL-CLIENT.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Riedl

Simply put that’s why I’ve gone down the health journey of research and creating health brands.

Our gallery
Scroll to Top