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Science Says The Seed Of Depression Is Hidden In Your Gut, Not Your Brain

Science Says The Seed Of Depression Is Hidden In Your Gut, Not Your Brain

It was believed that the causes of depression were primarily neurological or originate in the brain, but recent research indicates the depression’s root cause may be directly related to bacteria found in the gut.

Doctors and nutritionists have always known there is a connection between the brain and the gut. Research shows that the gut has a mind of it’s own called the enteric nervous system. According to UK based nutritional therapist, Eve Kalinik,

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“the brain and gut neurons are directly connected via the vagus nerve, explaining why we feel “butterflies in the stomach” when faced with an anxiety-provoking situation.”

So how does bacteria in the gut cause depression?

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Causes of Depression

Scientists were able to discover that the cause of depression, anxiety, and several paediatric disorders, including autism and hyperactivity, have been linked with gastrointestinal abnormalities. Like other chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, depression is primarily an inflammatory condition. To be specific, gut inflammation is the root of depression.

This one revelation has the potential to profoundly impact the medical field and be a major step forward in effectively treating and possibly curing people plagued by depression. While changing a person’s bacteria is still a stretch for doctors, it is easier and more straightforward than trying to change an individual’s genes.

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Treating the gut causes of depression

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    There are some things you can do to help reduce “bad” bacteria and cultivate good bacteria in your gut.

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    • Eat more whole foods– by eating more whole foods and reducing the amount of processed foods you can eliminate gastronomical inflammation. The manipulation processed foods undergoes introduces unnatural toxins and chemicals into your system. Your body has to struggle to break down chemical compounds that are foreign and not intended for the human body. In fact, one study suggests that eating a lot of nutrient-sparse processed foods could up your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent.
    • Avoid processed forms of sugar, dairy and gluten– Natural sugars, grains and dairy products are good for you. Refined sugars, gluten and processed dairy products have been altered from their natural state. These alterations promote the development of bad bacteria and drastically reduce nutritional value–leaving your brain starved and causing it to malfunction.
    • Eat plenty of fats and proteins–Not all fat is bad for you. Researchers believe that chicken, turkey,  brazil nuts, eggs, avocados and oily fish all have a powerful impact on our mental state. These are sources of important amino acids, vitamins and minerals, which convert into mood-enhancing brain chemicals.
    • Get plenty of Vitamin D– Vitamin D is required for overall brain development and function. Vitamin D deficiency is sometimes associated with depression and other mood disorders. Sunshine, fortified cereals, breads, juices and milk are packed with this essential vitamin.
    • Skip the supplements if possible– Work to get your nutritional needs met through healthy eating habits and not supplements. Nutrients work together in context. Scientists are diligently working to discover if low levels of nutrients are the cause or consequence of poor brain health. You can’t “biohack” your way out of depression with a few pills or “superfoods.”

    Science is not definitive and is constantly evolving. If you or your loved one is depressed, seek professional help. And along with following the advice of the medical professional, remember that the root cause of your depression just may be in your gut. By changing your diet and paying attention to how your stomach feels, your road to recovery could be short and sweet.

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    Denise Hill

    Speech Writer/Senior Editor

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    Last Updated on January 14, 2019

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

    From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

    What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

    1. Take the scenic route.

    Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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    Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

    2. Distract yourself.

    No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

    3. Listen to music or podcasts.

    There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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    4. Bring a friend.

    Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

    Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

    5. Accessorize.

    There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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    For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

    6. Compete.

    A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

    7. Relax.

    The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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    With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

    Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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