The bacteria in your bowel may have more impact than you think!
Thanks to the human microbiome project, the importance of diet, microbiome and gut health has moved to the forefront of public health awareness. The microbiome is trillions of bacteria in your gut that weighs more than your brain. In fact many are now referring to it as the second brain, after realising the huge impact of imbalanced gut bacteria, or the more elegantly named 'flora'.
As you will glimpse from the references below, possibly the first thing to consider if you are feeling bad is your diet and the condition of your gut flora. You can significantly change your bowel bacteria within about 3 days on a different diet. Your bowel flora can be upset by many things including
Stress (especially the ongoing chronic kind)
Infection and repeated antibiotic use
Eating foods sprayed with pesticide (Roundup/glyphosphate)
Not being breastfed and being delivered by caesarian
Diet (eating processed, refined or limited kinds of food and too much sugar can overfeed the bad bacteria)
You need good bacteria to digest food and make hormones, including good cholesterol.
All Disease Begins in The Gut.” - Hippocrates.
The vagus nerve allows almost instantaneous communication between all organs (including the gut) and the brain. This is how we have 'gut feelings' and likewise feel nauseous when we see or hear something that disgusts us.
Another important fact is that we use raw materials from food, and many neurotransmitters are made in the gut. Digestion is one of the first things to degenerate.
The power of gut bacteria imbalance is evident in PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders associated with streptococcal infections syndrome) (1), a severe and sudden onset disorder caused by a bacterial infection that affects the gut and brain. PANDAS is often manifesting only as a sudden anxiety and OCD behaviour in the child.
Other brain functions that are affected by the gut flora balance include concentration (bacteria produce dopmine!), anxiety (especially high streptocchous bacterium) and possibly anger and psychosis. Just think about how you feel when you have a Bali belly or stomach flu--you feel horrible. This is how connected we are.
Anxiety, Panic Attacks and the Gut
Many of your neurotransmitters are made in the gut, but the imbalance of gut flora (bowel bacteria) can also lead to effects in the brain, as many of the bacteria not only influence the balance of neurotransmitters but travel to the brain via the vagus nerve. (1)
Streptoccous overgrowth in the bowel can lead to anxiety and panic disorders. (2) This condition is diagnosed by a doctor who can order and interpret a bioscreen (fecal analysis) and then prescribe the correct course of antibiotic and probiotic therapy.
1. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/09/your-gut-directly-connected-your-brain-newly-discovered-neuron-circuit 2. https://www.adhd.com.au/anxiety-mood/anxiety-disorder-and-panic-attacks Research on the link between anxiety in children and strep infections. "From Throat to Mind: Strep Today, Anxiety Later?" https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/from-throat-to-mind/
First section References: 1. Gut Microbiota Profiling and Gut-Brain Crosstalk in Children Affected by Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated With Streptococcal Infections. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29686658 2. Anxiety: 11 of 21 studies say regulating gut bacteria may help https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325226.php 3. The Gut Microbiome and the Brain https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4259177/