Why Stress Is Ruining More Than Just Your Day

February 17, 2014

The link between stress and gut healthIf you’ve read my About Me page, you know that I was recently diagnosed with Leaky Gut. I didn’t even know Leaky Gut was a ‘real thing’ until a few months prior to my diagnosis. Discovering that I was suffering from Leaky Gut came as a relief because I could finally move forward with a healing treatment plan.

At my worst, my gut pain got so intense that I actually thought I either had bowel cancer or a parasite. Yeah, I {kind of} over-reacted! Little did I know, the walls of my intestinal lining had developed holes and could no longer function properly. A porous gut lining allows undigested food particles, toxins and waste to leak through the open spaces into the bloodstream.

I wrote a post on my diagnosis and favorite healing foods here. 

After I found out I had Leaky Gut, I tried to figure out and explain why this had happened to me. My body could no longer tolerate gluten, dairy or high amounts of sugar. This was all very startling because anyone who knows me personally can attest that I have a major sweet tooth. I’d always go back for seconds on dessert and was baking cupcakes or cookies on a weekly basis. Take me to one of those self-serve frozen yogurt shops, and I’d easily come away with a $15 cup full of sugary goodness!

How did I go from eating gluten and dairy multiple times a day to suffering from pain and nausea after just a few bites?

Leaky Gut can cause food intolerances. When toxins and waste enter the bloodstream, the immune system ramps up and has to work overtime to fight off the ‘invaders’. The body becomes inflamed, and foods that weren’t previously a problem can now cause adverse reactions, such as pain, nausea, and bloating.

I did a lot of research and reflection and came to the realization that the cause of my poor gut health was one glaring issue: STRESS.

Stress, more specifically chronic stress, typically results in a weakened immune system. When your immune system is suppressed, it can’t do its job properly and is quickly overloaded with bad bacteria. This altered gut flora leads to inflammation and increased gut permeability. {aka = holes in the lining of your intestines}

Research shows a strong link between the brain and the gut. That’s because the majority of the body’s serotonin {your feel-good-chemical!} is produced in the stomach. Serotonin is responsible for functions of your brain and your mood, but it also plays a vital role in the function of your digestive system. 

Here are a few ways your gut is affected by serotonin:

  • The rate food moves through your bowels
  • The amount of fluid and mucus secreted in your intestines
  • The sensitivity of your intestines to pain and fullness

Chronic stress can have a devastating effect on the gut and the mind. Stress is one of the biggest factors that determines your serotonin levels. An imbalance in serotonin can result in depression, anxiety and many troublesome digestive issues. Too high of serotonin –> diarrhea. Too low –> bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, poor digestion, constipation and fullness.

If stress is not properly addressed, it can cause or exasperate serious health problem, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome {IBS}, Leaky Gut, food intolerances, and stomach ulcers.

In fact, one study shows that 40-60% of IBS patients sought medical advice for anxiety and depression. Proof of the link between stress and gut health.

If you are experiencing any sort of digestive distress, I encourage you to re-examine your stress levels and seek help if needed.

Coming up on the blog: 6 Simple Ways To Lower Everyday Stress.

Lots of love,

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5 thoughts on “Why Stress Is Ruining More Than Just Your Day

  1. Pingback: 6 Simple Ways To Lower Everyday Stress | Mariposa Moment

  2. Libbilm@gmail.com'Libbi Logue-McFarland

    Just thought it may be worth mentioning ….. in response to “major sweet tooth” ……. food ADDICTION and how it operates in the brain (especially on dopamine receptors) …….
    If interested check out Phil Werdell and food addiction.com

    Peace and Love
    Libbi

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Mariposa Must-Haves: March | Mariposa Moment

  4. Pingback: QUITTING SUGAR: WHY IT'S NOT SO SWEET

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