If serotonin were a Hollywood star, it would be Jim Carrey–under appreciated (somebody hand that man an Oscar!), multi-talented, and responsible for igniting the personality of show business.
New scientific research reveals this under appreciated neurotransmitter is not only multi-talented but also greatly effects our personality based on signals sent from our digestion. Yes, our digestion.
Science now tells us that over 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced in our gut. Serotonin, as you may know, is our “happy hormone” or neurotransmitter that effects our mood and our sleep.
If our digestion is not functioning properly, our emotions can suffer. Greatly.
Not surprisingly, in Chinese medicine, there is a direct relationship between grief and elimination. Many patients I treat who have a history of depression also experience digestive and elimination issues. In Chinese medicine, the element Metal rules the Lungs and the Large Intestine, which are both susceptible to grief.
If you feel sad, your gut might be feeling sad, too, or vice versa.
Our gut is sometimes referred to as our “second brain” in scientific and health communities, which makes sense when you think about it. When you feel anxious, do you get butterflies in your stomach? And how is your mood effected when you’re constipated? Or, have you ever felt and acted on a gut instinct?
Here are 5 ways to “Jim Carrey” your digestion, and brighten the mood of your second brain:
1) Take a good probiotic. When the good “flora” or gut bacteria is inadequate, serotonin levels drop and can have a negative impact on your mental state. Make sure to choose a probiotic that is clinically tested to survive the harsh environment of the stomach like this one from USANA Health Sciences.
2) Increase your nutrients. Chemical reactions, hormone synthesis, and proper neural communication all require adequate amounts of specific nutrients. That’s to say, make sure there are more nutrients in your food and that you are taking a good multivitamin and fish oil. I love USANA’s Essentials and Biomega fish oil, and I recommend them to all my patients.
3) Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol wreak havoc on your digestion, and now you can guess, your mood (and the quality of your sleep). Skip them both, and know that you’re going to feel better in the long run.
4) Work with an acupuncturist. Chinese medicine and acupuncture can help tremendously with improving digestion, reducing anxiety, and lifting depression. It’s also wonderful for treating insomnia.
5) Clean up your diet. A healthy digestive system eliminates 1-3 times per day with stool that is well formed–not too loose, not too hard. If this doesn’t describe your digestion, it’s time to fix that. There probably isn’t one answer, but a combination of things you can do to improve your digestion like remove common allergens like dairy and gluten, increase your water and fiber intake, eat less animal protein, eat a more plant-based diet, etc.
Click here to read about my Clean Up You Diet™ 21-day online program where you will learn how to do all of the above and more. (Registration for my next group session opens next week! Make sure you’re on the Early Bird wait list to be the first in line.)
And go watch your favorite Jim Carrey movie! That can’t hurt. 😉