The Microbiome and Mental Health Part 2
December 10th, 2018
How does a young person, mother or a mother's future offspring protect their microbiome from perturbation and disease while maintaining a healthy mind?
1) CRITICAL - Avoid all antibiotics, antacids and non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs where possible before becoming pregnant and during pregnancy as well. These drugs and many others adversely effect the healthy gut microbes.
2) CRITICAL - Eat a predominantly plant based whole foods diet
like Dr. Weil's anti-inflammatory diet. This means shunning flour and sugary "white" foods. Fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt and sauerkraut are direct bacterial sources for the gut. Avoid all refined and processed foods that are low fiber, high bad fat and sugar bombs.
3) Avoid non nutritive sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame and sucralose which promote the growth of unhealthy bacteria.
4) Avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals, EDC. See the newsletter on EDC's below. Visit www.ewg.org for lists of chemicals to avoid. Go old school with plain soap and vinegar as disinfectants. Targeted bleach for raw animal based food residue on countertops in the kitchen is useful.
5) Consider taking high quality probiotics in the range of a 100 billion bugs. (only with the advice of your provider.)
6) Eat local organic foods until we have definitive proof that round up/glyphosate and other chemicals in our food supply are truly safe. The early research on these chemicals and the microbiome are not encouraging.
7) CRITICAL - Meditate and reduce stress daily. Get into a rhythm of daily gratitude and prayer to engender a mindset of happiness no matter where you find yourself or how much external stress is pushing on you. Avoid negativity in all its forms. Negative mind sets only promote stress and stagnation of spirit.
8) Consider an elimination diet if you are suffering from chronic fatigue, gut bloating/irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headaches or other somatic symptoms of food reactivity. Removing trigger foods can stop food gut induced inflammation that can damage the microbiome. Trials of 1 to 2 months off of offending foods often answers the question for you as your body will feel dramatically different if you have a food sensitivity. Eliminating Gluten, dairy, corn, egg, soy, tree nuts, peanuts and shellfish accounts for most food reactions that are not anaphylactic and classified as allergy/sensitivity. Never try elimination re-challenge diets with foods that cause anaphylactic symptoms like vomiting, wheezing, oral swelling, loss of blood pressure. See this website if your are unsure of your reaction. Seek expert help when working on elimination diets.
9) Consider taking a prebiotic supplement to enhance the growth of the good bacteria that you already have. Great in smoothies and cold beverages. I love Bob's Red Mill's unmodified potato starch, an excellent resistant starch prebiotic.
10) Exercise daily to a sweat. Enhances microbial quality and helps the body rid itself of toxins.
11) If you are really struggling with gut health despite trying the above recommendations, find a functional/integrative medicine or gastroenterologist practitioner versed in analyzing the intestinal microbiome to assess for overgrowth of bad bacteria or yeast. Treatments for these problems are very specific and complicated.
12) Get adequate sleep to reduce stress.
13) CRITICAL - Aim for a vaginal delivery every time. No scheduled cesarean sections unless medically indicated.
14) CRITICAL - Breastfeed exclusively until 6 months. I recommend whole foods for your baby from 6 months on. No white refined foods.
15) Finally, anything that you perceive as chronic stress is a real stressor for you. You must change the narrative in your mind that this is a problem. Accept the current reality until you can remove yourself from the stressor or mitigate it somehow. Jesus Christ and the philosopher stoics understood this philosophy well. Turning the other cheek, forgiveness, boundaries, standing strong in the storm, whatever you want to call it, will help you maintain a reduced stress life. We will always have stress. Our perception and reaction to the stress dictates our physiologic outcome!
To a healthy gut microbiome - Nazdrowje,