“All disease begins in the gut.”
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine
I first learnt about the link between digestive health and mood disorders sometime in 2010 while reading the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride. That book was very inspiring and eye-opening to me at the time. It also contained many truths that I couldn’t fully appreciate until later.
In the book Dr. McBride discusses how the conditions of autism, schizophrenia, depression and dyspraxia are linked to poor digestive health. She mentioned some statistics about how autistic children always have some type of a gut condition or food intolerance. I’ve heard anecdotal reports of many autistic children improving greatly when the diet is changed. Simply removing things like dairy products and gluten can have a profound effect on these kids.
Jenny McCarthy mentions how she healed her child in this article. Notice how a lot of it has to do with healing the gut. Dr. McBride became interested in the gut-brain link after her own child was diagnosed with autism. He has subsequently been cured through her gut healing protocol.
Since learning this information I’ve asked many of my friends and acquaintances about their digestive health if they tell me they suffer from depression, anxiety or panic attacks. Very often they’ll tell me they have some form of IBS or constipation. I never had any particular trouble with my digestive system until I became overloaded with mercury back in 2008, when my mood problems showed up in full force.
I obviously didn’t notice the link between gut and mental health at the time, but I suffered from bad diarrhea at times. Throughout that entire year I also struggled with excess gas as well as the occasional wet fart (highly embarrassing!). For a while I thought the problem was caused by dairy products, but whenever I cut them out nothing changed. Adopting a largely fruit based diet helped some, but I would still get some very loose stools and pieces of undigested food in my stools.
In 2009 I saw a clinical metal toxicologist who did live blood analysis. She told me that I had a leaky gut and gave me various gut healing protocols to try, including things like colloidal silver and high doses of various probiotics. I also did a ozone colonic, which had a good effect on my digestive system, although the results unfortunately didn’t last. Throughout that year my digestive system fluctuated up and down. It was also the year that I became severely dairy intolerant.
In 2010 I got a nasty stomach bug and used a few digestive aids such as aloe vera, l-glutamine and probiotics. I did the Hulda-Clarke parasite cleanse. I also experimented with various fermented foods including things like water kefir, homemade sauerkraut and other recipes from the book Wild Fermentation. I also had a stool test done which unfortunately revealed quite a bad nasty called proteus living in my gut.
Most of these therapies were hit and miss and didn’t do much. I was prescribed various antifungal and antibacterial herbs by the lab professional for the proteus. I experienced an incredible euphoria for slightly more than a week while taking them. It felt like my body was finally digesting the food that I was giving it, I started experiencing consistently awesome stools (something I lovingly refer to as The Perfect Sh!t, forgive my foul language) and also mentally felt like I was regaining my inner power. It was an awesome feeling all round. This was when I truly understood the huge link that exists between our gut and our brain.
I think it’s wise for anyone with a mood disorder to start their health investigation with their digestive health. When you start eating a healthy diet, staying away from the modern food poisons your gut health will automatically start improving. In the book Perfect Health Diet, reference is made to a case of a man being cured of schizophrenia simply by removing gluten from his diet. Gluten is notorious for causing bowel problems and it’s the first thing I would suggest removing if someone asked my advice about gut health.
Once you’ve removed the worst offenders out of the diet such as the glutenous grains, too many nuts and refined foods then it’s time to start adding in certain foods to help your gut heal. Once your gut is on the path to healing you’ll start absorbing nutrients. When that happens your body’s hormones will naturally start to balance out, your neurotransmitters will be made in the correct amounts, your immune system will kill off any bad guys and your natural health and vitality will improve and most importantly your mood will improve greatly.
Tomorrow I’ll be talking about some of these gut-friendly foods and go into more detail about good gut health.