Chronic stress leads to changes of context, the brain-gut, which can cause or worsen numerous gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies to food, GERD, and many others.
All of your feelings create physiological changes and stress is no exception. In times of stress, increases the heart rate, can raise blood pressure and blood from the middle part of the body moves to the hands, feet and head, to think fast, fight or flight.
The effects of chronic stress on the gut
- How stress affects the gut
- At Harvard are studying how stress can cause indigestion
- Imbalance in the gut can cause depression, anxiety and more
- If you have these symptoms, perhaps because of the stress
- What can you do to reduce stress and improve intestinal conditions?
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This reaction should be temporary, designed to help to survive, but when stress becomes chronic, as millions of people who read this, it could undermine your health, cause damage to intestinal and digestive health.
How stress affects the gut
The stress response causes a number of adverse events in the intestine, including:
- Decrease nutrient absorption
- Reduced oxygenation of the intestine
- Blood flow in the digestive system is reduced as much as four times, which leads to lower metabolism
- The decrease in production of enzymes in the intestine in as many as 20 000 times!
But that’s not all.
In the truest sense of the word, you have two brains, one inside your skull and the other in the gut. Interestingly, these two organs are formed actually of a fabric of the same type. In the process of formation of the fruit one part turns into the Central nervous system, and the other in asterichesky nervous system. These two systems are linked by the vagus nerve – the tenth cranial nerve that runs from the brain stem to the abdominal cavity. This “axis brain-gut” and the brain connects the two and explains why you feel butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous, for example. Similarly, stress leads to changes of context, the brain, the intestines, helping to contribute to many gastrointestinal disorders, including:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Adverse reactions to food antigens (food Allergy)
- Peptic ulcers
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Other functional gastrointestinal diseases
As indicated in the published in the “journal of physiology and pharmacology” study:
“Stress, which is defined as an acute threat to homeostasis, shows both short-term and long-term effects of the gastrointestinal tract… the Main effects of stress to the physiology of the intestine are:
1. Changes in the motility of the gastrointestinal tract
2. The increase in visceral perception
3. Changes in gastrointestinal secretion
4. Negative effects on regenerative capacity of the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract and blood flow in her
5. Negative impact on the intestinal microflora
Mast (MC) are important elements of the axis brain-gut, which convert stress signals into the release of neurotransmitters and proinflammatory cytokines broad spectrum that has a profound effect on the physiology of the gastrointestinal tract”.
At Harvard are studying how stress can cause indigestion
Hippocrates once said that “all diseases begin in the stomach”, and is now widely known that stress is a trigger that causes multiple chronic processes.
These two dogmas in the field of health are actually linked, as stress wreaks havoc gut health, and the combination of stress and intestinal damage can contribute to many inflammatory diseases, for example:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Chronic skin disease
- Kidney problems
- Diseases of the urinary tract
- Allergic and atopic diseases
- Degenerative diseases
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Miliceiskii encephalomyelitis (me)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
To put it simply, chronic stress (and other negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety and sadness) can trigger symptoms and the full extent of the disease in the intestines.
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As Harvard researchers explain:
“Psychology combines with physical factors, causing pain and other intestinal symptoms. Psychosocial factors influence the actual physiology of the gut and its symptoms. In other words, stress (or depression, or other psychological factors) can affect movement and reduction of gastro-intestinal tract, cause inflammation or make it more susceptible to infection”.
In addition, studies show that some people suffering from functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, perceive pain more acutely than other people because their brain cannot properly regulate pain signals from the gastrointestinal tract.
Stress can exacerbate existing pain. Interesting, that link works in two directions: stress can cause bowel problems, but problems with the intestines can cause havoc on the emotions.
Researchers at Harvard University continue:
“This communication is done in both directions. Intestine with impaired functions can send signals to the brain, and the brain with impaired functions can send signals to the intestine. Thus, pain in the stomach or gut can be a cause or a consequence of anxiety, stress or depression. This is because the brain and gastrointestinal system are closely interrelated, so they should be treated as one.”
Imbalance in the gut can cause depression, anxiety and more
If you feel stressed, so it is important to understand that not only can affect health, it can be caused by the health of your gut or, more precisely, his lack of health. Increasingly, scientific evidence suggests that nutrition of the intestinal flora friendly bacteria from fermented foods or probiotics is extremely important for proper brain function, including psychological well-being and mood control.
Proved, for example, that the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 normalize anxious behavior in mice with infectious colitis.
A study published in 2011 also demonstrated that probiotics have a direct impact on the chemical composition of the brain in normal conditions, so that it affects the feeling of anxiety or depression.
In short, the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus has a significant impact on GABA (inhibitory neurotransmitter largely involved in the regulation of many physiological and psychological processes) in some areas of the brain and lowers stress-induced hormone corticosterone, reducing the appearance of behaviour associated with anxiety and depression.
The authors concluded:
“Taken together, these findings emphasize the important role of bacteria in two-way communication axis brain-gut and suggest that certain organisms may prove to be useful therapeutic AIDS in the treatment of stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.”
Interestingly, in the intestine discovered these neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. By the way, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in the regulation of mood, control, depression and suppressing aggression, is in the gut, not the brain!
If you have these symptoms, perhaps because of the stress
The magazine the Harvard Health Beat has compiled a useful list of physical, behavioral and emotional symptoms of stress. We are all exposed to stress virtually every day, but these signs signal that stress may have become to dominate in your life and may increases the risk of health-related problems:
- Stiffness or muscle tension, especially in neck and shoulders
- Sleep problems
- Shaking or tremor
- A recent loss of interest in sex
- The decrease or increase of weight
- Teeth grinding, especially at night
- Difficulty in completing work tasks
- Changes in the volume of consumption of alcohol or food
- A person starts to smoke or smoke more than usual
- The increased desire to be with others or to be alone
- Reflections (frequent talking or thinking about stressful situations)
- A strong feeling of tension or pressure
- Of trouble relaxing / Nervousness
- Poor concentration
- Difficulty remembering
- The loss of a sense of humor
What can you do to reduce stress and improve intestinal conditions?
A lot, actually.
As for stress, to relax and “clear my head” is often a very useful exercise. Other common and successful methods of stress reduction include, for example, prayer and laughter. Learn relaxation skills such as deep breathing and positive visualization, which is the “language” of the subconscious.
When you create a visual representation of how you want to feel your subconscious understand and begin to help you by making the needed biochemical and neurological changes.
My favorite way to manage stress is EFT (emotional freedom technique), which is similar to acupuncture, only without needles. This is a convenient and free way to quickly and painlessly unload emotional baggage, in addition, it is so simple that they can master even the children.
Using these methods to control your stress levels, you can simultaneously strengthen the health of the colon this way:
- Avoid sugar/fructose: eating sugar and fructose in excess amounts distorts the ratio of good and bad bacteria in the intestines and serves as a fertilizer/fuel for pathogenic bacteria, yeast and fungi, which adversely affects the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
- Eat fermented foods: cooked the traditional way, unpasteurized fermented foods are a rich source of probiotics. To useful foods include Lassi (an Indian yogurt drink, traditionally consumed before dinner), fermented raw organic milk of grazing animals such as yogurt, various fermented vegetables – cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, zucchini and carrots, and natto (fermented soybeans).
- Supplement with probiotics: if you do not eat fermented foods, it is definitely recommended to take a high-quality Supplement with probiotics. As stated by the researchers: “…probiotics may profoundly affect the interaction of the brain and the gut (“axis the microbiome-gut-brain”) and to suppress the development of stress-induced disorders in both the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract.”
- Sleep in complete darkness: this is necessary for proper production of the hormone melatonin. The study shows: “it is proved that melatonin, an important mediator in the axis of the intestine, the brain, exerts an important protective action against stress-induced damage of the gastrointestinal tract”.published econet.ru.
© Joseph Mercola
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