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Naturopathic and Functional Medicine Practitioners are a key guide into leading you to life-long prevention and wellness through individualised, whole-person- focused health. 

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As you read this, billions of bacteria are working away in your gut. Collectively known as the gut microbiome, and even though these tiny organisms are so small that they require a microscope to see them, they contribute in big ways to human health and wellness.

These bacteria are highly intelligent organisms and have been shown to communicate with different organs in the body, including the brain (hence their link to both depression and anxiety), lungs (hence the link to asthma), skin (hence the link to acne, psoriasis and eczema) and the immune system (hence  autoimmune conditions).Several studies have also linked the mix of bacteria in the gut, or the gut microbiome, to memory or the ability to learn, as well as well as being a key factor in the aging process.

We can test the balance of bacteria through stool testing which assesses all of the bacteria, yeasts and potential parasites in the large intestine, and we can test for overgrowths in the small intestine (SIBO) via breath testing. If there are overgrowths, herbal antimicrobials may be required. If there are too few of the good bacteria, probiotics and prebiotics may be used to promote their growth. Equally, too much good bacteria can also cause a problem in health and symptoms, which is why its important to not over do it with probiotIcs and fermented foods unless you are overseen by a qualified practitioner.

An individualised approach that takes into account all aspects of the digestive tract and unique health picture always yields the best outcome for overall health and well-being.

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Around 80% percent of serotonin, the body’s happy hormone, is created in the gut, as well as mood-boosting dopamine, which is why the gut is increasingly referred to as the ‘second brain’. If gut bacteria falls out of sync, this can fuel the gut-brain feedback loop, negatively affecting mood. Hormonal changes triggered by the body’s stress response can also take their toll on the gut.

It all comes down to the gut-brain axis. “Your gut and brain are connected by the vagus nerve (situated in your neck) – one of the biggest nerves in the body that’s essentially an information superhighway,” This two-way line of communication can trigger your gut to mirror your current state of mind – or vice versa – explaining why you may feel nauseous before a presentation or why stressful situations wreak havoc with your stomach causing constipation or diarrhoea.

The vagus nerve also plays a key role when it comes to stress and mood. Since  1921, researchers have confirmed the vagus nerve doesn’t respond well to emotional stress. The more anxious and stressed we are, the higher the likelihood of inflammation and low mood, potential triggers for depression.

Not one valid study has proven that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. As a gut health specialist I believe the most effective way to treat mental health disorders is through the gut and looking at an individuals lifestyle and nutritional deficiencies.

Low level Vitamin D and vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increase of negative mood, depression symptoms and impaired cognitive function. It is important to spend splenty of time in nature in the spring time and summer months to get adequate exposure to the sun to get the all essential sunshine vitamin, vitamin D.

Naturopathic Health Clinic
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