Philadelphia, PA - Stress is often considered a catch-all explanation for many ailments, such as random headaches, anxiety, back pain, and similar opaque symptoms. The fast-paced lifestyle, whose demands take a significant toll on a person's psyche, is usually identified as the prime suspect.
The Effect of Stress on Gut Flora
Often there is no scientific consensus on these claims, but there might still be something to it. The detrimental effect on gut flora is well-documented.
Stress is known to kickstart the cascade of inflammation within the body, which changes the gut flora's composition and causes imbalances in the gut-brain axis.
This results in digestive issues and may explain psychological problems like burnout, nervousness, motivation issues, etc. Namely, the gut contains lots of nerve fibers – much more than is considered 'necessary' – which is why scientists think it may actually affect brain function.
If you've ever had 'butterflies' in your stomach, you're already intimately aware of this type of connection. It's no coincidence. It's called 'gut feeling' after all.
Now, back to the stress issue. Obviously, by throwing your gut flora out of whack, you're likely doing harm to your mental health. The gut flora of people with mental health issues differs from that of healthy people.
There are several ways to remedy this issue – by using prebiotics or probiotics.
Prebiotics are substances that feed the bacteria and help the body maintain the correct balance on its own. Probiotic substances introduce the bacteria directly and usually consist of strains that have been proven to aid digestion.
So, what can you do to aid your stress-ridden self? Well, either take a step back and reevaluate your life or… munch on something rich with good bacteria. It might do your brain good!