Dr. Margaret Christensen realizes there is regular interaction between our gastrointestinal tract and our brains, so how we feel is profoundly affected by the foods we eat. She recommends probiotics, or healthy bacteria, to keep the GI tract in good health, which will help keep you emotionally on an even keel.
Dr. Christensen has a practice in complementary medicine, spirituality and medicine, nutrition, herbal medicine and women's psychology at Christensen Center for Whole Life Health.
(Transcribed from video interview)
Depression can be markedly influenced by diet and the reason is because we have gut feelings, because of the amount of neurotransmitters, those are brain chemicals that are actually produced in the gastrointestinal tract. Most people, including most physicians, do not realize that at least 75% of the body’s neurotransmitters, serotonin, GABA, norepinephrine, dopamine, these are chemicals that are produced in the brain that are responsible for mood, 75% of them are actually produced in your gastrointestinal tract. So, if you are consuming something that is creating irritation or if you have a lot of gastrointestinal symptoms, for example, irritable bowel syndrome, and you are creating a lot of disturbance, it is actually sending out alarm chemicals and alters the influence of those neurotransmitters. So you can create anxiety, depression, irritability, even things like ADD, autism. So anything that we can do to help improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract, and that would include removing a lot of common foods that we eat-- dairy products, wheat, alcohol, sugar-- all that creates a lot of fermentation and irritation in the gut, and if we help put back healthy bacteria, what we call probiotics, some people called those acid lactobacillus acidophilus bifidus. Those can all really help improve the balance and the health of the GI tract which then helps mood.
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