Up until this point, mental illness had always been linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain. The health of our digestive system and how well it functions also significantly affect the condition and functionality of our brain, as more studies are now demonstrating. A more thorough understanding of the causes of specific mental illnesses is now becoming possible thanks to this new perspective on mental health. However, if we are willing to look beyond the dynamics of the brain-gut connection with a humble, open, and honest approach, the research will eventually show us that our spirit-health plays at least as important of a role in our general well-being, if not a greater one
For the digestive system to be healthy, it is essential to have healthy gut flora or bacteria. The pH balance that good gut flora maintains keeps the digestive tract safe from dangerous bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, shigella, yeast, and fungi. However, having healthy gut bacteria benefits more than just the digestive system. Additional benefits of healthy gut bacteria include hormone balancing, immune system support, weight and cholesterol management, increased energy, and support for emotional and mental stability.
When dirt’s been given such a filthy reputation, it is quite difficult seeing it having any health benefits at all. But the word is out! A little bit of dirt won’t kill you. In fact, a little bit of dirt can actually heal you!
(M. vaccae) or Mycobacterium. Vaccae, is a specific kind of beneficial bacteria that is present in the soil. Our bodies have been experiencing the effects of this severe depletion of good bacteria for the past 30 years in America., contributing to diseases like Crohn’s disease (CD), IBD, and ulcerative colitis (UC).
It is believed that obesity, among other ailments, is a result of this depletion brought on by chemically contaminated soil. Additionally, it is thought that avoiding dirt altogether contributes to depression.
Antibiotic overuse, excessive alcohol consumption, and drinking water with high chlorine content are additional gut-harming habits. When enough of the beneficial bacteria are eliminated, the digestive tract turns into a haven for chronic inflammation, which leads to numerous major bodily system malfunctions.
According to studies, mice exposed to M. vaccae, exhibited signs of an improved immune system. Additionally, it’s been demonstrated that exposure to this beneficial bacteria through gardening or other activities activates serotonin in the brain, resulting in increased relaxation and decreased anxiety in people.
It is known that issues related to stress have a lower likelihood of developing into larger issues in the long run when the immune system is functioning at its best. As scientists gain a better understanding of the connection between our gut and our mental health, they are also realizing that we are in constant communication with what is thought of as our body’s second brain when we experience signals in our gut, such as “feeling butterflies” or acting on instinct.
While Mycobacterium vaccae is known to the clinical world as the “friendly bacteria”, it is important not to get it confused with its other family members such as mycobacterium leprae (bacteria causing leprosy) and mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Growing and Keeping Good Gut Flora Balanced In Your Digestive Tract
Taking probiotic supplements is one of the most popular ways people increase the good bacteria in their digestive tract. The combination of supplements and a healthy diet would be a good place to start because these supplements, while helpful, require a healthy environment to be effective.
Eating a lot of foods high in lactic acid is the best way to fill our intestines with healthy bacteria. These include foods that have undergone fermentation, such as yogurt, pickled vegetables, kefir, and tofu. Lactic acid maintains an acidic bacterial lining in the intestines, which prevents harmful bacteria from entering your digestive tract which can later become a problem.
If you consume these (acidic) fermented foods and beverages regularly, your gut will eventually display the results of a healthy, developing flora.
Bad Bacteria And Its Link to Psychosis
As far as the abdomen/genital region (solar plexus), communication starts at the enteric nervous system (ENS). It is one of the three components of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is in charge of sending 90 percent of the signals that travel along the vagus nerve to the brain. Keep in mind that this information is very fascinating. Understanding the relationship between your spirit and your gut will be crucial. The other two components of the ANS are the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which functions as the sympathetic nervous system’s complete opposite and is fueled by cortisol and adrenaline and is in charge of causing the body to take action.
The condition known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when the large intestine and colon become overrun by the same bacteria that normally live in the small intestine. This can lead to a number of different health issues. Melatonin and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that ensure that the body sleeps well and is emotionally balanced, prevent neurotransmitters from malfunctioning, which could result in severe harm to other organs or even death. According to studies, mental health problems like depression and anxiety become a problem when these neurotransmitters are blocked.
Toxoplasma gondii, also referred to as T. gondii) found in the digestive system has also been shown to contribute to mental health conditions like bipolar, long-term depression, and schizophrenia. The T. Gondii parasite is known to be spread by either eating meat from animals that have already been infected with Toxoplasma spores or by ingesting Toxoplasma-infected spores of feline feces.
Approaching Our Mental Health From A Spiritual Perspective
Stress can cause the digestive system a variety of issues over time. For instance, a person experiencing stress may eat more than usual, frequently foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Some people might substitute alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine for their decreased food intake. Additionally, stress can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in the intestines, and if it persists for an extended period of time, it can cause stomach pain and even ulcers.
When the body perceives a threat, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which cause the body to experience rapid breathing and heartbeat, dilation of the blood vessels, and an increase in blood glucose levels. The digestive tract is also impacted during this process, occasionally becoming overly sensitive and responding to stress with nausea and stomachaches.
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The third Chakra (energy point) of the human body, according to Hindu Sanskrit, is located in your solar plexus, also called the celiac plexus. It is the region or the center of our bodies from which we gain power. It is regarded as the location of the human spirit or true self. Our will’s strength resides there.
Let’s go back to the earlier information now. Ninety percent of all signals to the brain travel along the vagus nerve from the gut (solar plexus). If this information is accurate then let us ask ourselves this question. From where are these signals coming?
The outside of the brain’s nerve network is grey matter. This area is where decisions are made. The inside of this nerve center is white matter, and this area is where information is received and then forwarded to other nerve networks. With the enteric nervous system (ENS) of the solar plexus, the setup is reversed. The outside of this system is white while the inside is grey. In this case, should we be placing more emphasis on the reception and the emission of signals from the solar plexus?
The third Chakra (solar plexus), which controls the entire digestive system, the gall bladder, the spleen, the kidney, the liver, as well as the autonomic nervous system, is becoming more widely understood as people gain a better understanding of the seven major Chakras of the body and their functions. In addition to the organs of the body malfunctioning and becoming ill, the brain will start to experience certain types of mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, mania, and psychosis when this pressure point is blocked (energy flow is obstructed) due to an unhealthy diet, stress, or parasitic infection. Well-being and inner peace become the predominant emotions when energy moves freely throughout the solar plexus.
Living a spirit-centered lifestyle does help to maintain a healthy gut and brain. Usually, when a person places an emphasis on nurturing their spirit, the health of both mind and emotion becomes a priority. Mindfulness practices and stress alleviating techniques become the lifestyle along with eating healthier and cleaner whole/superfoods. It appears that there is an undisclosed format that is intuitively adhered to when tending to their spirit. The spirit-centered person shifts from trying to fix their lives from the outside to making mind and emotional alignment their ultimate goal. Is this then the last piece of the puzzle to having true mental health?