Note: The text below is a transcription from the video above. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
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Okay, so today we’re going to talk about depression, anxiety, and the gut. It’s interesting to me. I’ve been doing this for a long time now, and in these last couple years, everybody that’s coming in has anxiety and depression. If they don’t have depression, they have anxiety. It’s just a topic that has become more and more on the forefront of having to address it in order to address other issues of chronic pain, and chronic fatigue, and things of that nature. I don’t look at depression and anxiety as a mental disorder. There’s little neurological abnormalities that can be associated with it in the fear center of your brain and in the emotional center of your brain, the limbic system of your brain. I don’t see that as a personality disorder because things can change once you start getting brain chemistry under control, once you start figuring out diets, and so on and so forth.
Then there’s so many different contributors to anxiety relative to blood sugar, and Hashimoto’s, dietary things, and a big contributor to both of those, and I’m going over the reasons why I don’t consider it a mental disorder, is the gut. It is the gut. It’s funny, Hippocrates said, “Look to the gut for the cause of all sickness and disease” 500 years ago. We finally have gotten around to doing that somewhere around the year 2000. It just is so much in involved with everything. You have the Microbiome Project, which was done I think in 2005 to 2010 at Harvard. That Microbiome Project was mind-boggling. If you want to blow your mind and you have tons of time to read a study, it connects your microbiome to gut health, to hormonal health, to pain, to every single aspect of your body, and particularly to brain.
So, there’s that. There’s the three to five pounds of imbalance in your gut of bacteria that if it’s not correct, it can create almost anything. I have a chart up here to my left that I don’t know if you can see it or not, but it’s a intestines that has these arrows going up to your brain. Part of what it’s showing is that when you have that bad bacteria, those bad bacteria can get out of a leaky gut, which is the second big thing that’ll contribute to depression and anxiety, and when you develop leaky gut, which now I don’t have to explain anymore because it’s rare that somebody comes in here and doesn’t know what a leaky gut is, but when you have things that get out of your leaky gut, go into your bloodstream, nothing good can happen. Only bad things can happen.
One of the things that can get out of there is these bacteria that I just talked about, or that imbalance in bacteria, they can actually get out of leaky gut and they can go up to your brain, and they will cause depression because they create an inflammatory response in your brain. Your brain neurons, to be healthy, you need no inflammation up there. You need proper blood sugar, proper oxygen. You need proper essential fatty acids. You need proper thyroid hormone, and you need a lack of inflammation.
Everything that happens from your gut that goes out into the system causes inflammation. There’s a lot of things in the gut that causes inflammation. You develop food allergies, or more stealthily, you develop food sensitivities. Food sensitivities create inflammatory responses. These create cytokines, which are little inflammatory proteins. These get through your leaky gut. They go up to your brain, depression.
So, am I saying that diet can be a cause of your depression? It can definitely be a cause of your depression. At the very least, it can be a huge contributor. I think one of the biggest areas that contributes to depression and anxiety from the gut is the fact, that I believe this is correct, it’s somewhere in 90 to 95% of your serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that makes you happy. When you have poor serotonin function, you’re sad. You could get seasonal affective disorder, or you can just be sad, period.
You don’t want to be around your friends. You just can’t enjoy life. Those are neurotransmitters that stimulate parts of the brain, and if you have all those other parameters intact that I just talked about, then those neurotransmitters make you happy. There’s thoughts that make those neurotransmitters happy, but there’s medications that make those neurotransmitters more abundant that make you happy, but your gut makes 95% of those.
So, if you have a bad gut, you have inflammation. You have chronic diarrhea. You have chronic constipation, and you’re not detoxing. You have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. You have food sensitivities, all of those things. Stress hormones. Cortisol coming from stress hormones is a stress hormone that attacks the inside [inaudible 00:05:58]. All of those things alter the ability of you to make serotonin in your gut. I just had a thought. I’ll mention it. If you’re not making serotonin, you are not going to be happy. I joke with my patients. I say, “You know when you have one of those euphoric bowel movements and you’re getting rid of all of this stuff out of your bowel, and then all of a sudden you’re just like, oh my God, I just feel so good.” That could last sometimes for a long time after you’ve had that bowel moment. It’s because so much of the chemistry in your bowels and in your intestines has an enormous amount of bearing on your brain.
I can go into estrogen. Estrogen in a female, if it’s off, they can have depression. You also need proper estrogen in your gut to keep your gut healed, but estrogen is also reconstituted in the gut incorrectly. You need to take estrogen in… Not take it in. Forget it. That’s birth control. You need to make estrogen, and then estrogen needs to be used in your tissues. Then there’s excess, and it needs to be cleared out your liver through your intestines. If your intestines aren’t right, it doesn’t do the proper job of modulating how much estrogen literally should be going into the toilet. If you start getting too much estrogen accumulate in your gut, you’re going to be depressed. You’re going to start to get depressed. I could go on for a long time, but the bottom line is if you have depression and anxiety, I’m not saying don’t go to counseling. I’m not saying that at all. When people come in here, they’re depressed, they have anxiety, and they’re in counseling. I’m good with that.
I’m pleased they’re working through certain things, and so on and so forth, but in my mind, by the time we get their physiology under control, their mood is going to improve. Their anxiety is going to go down.
Then at that point, you may be able to use herbs and botanicals to control that versus let’s say, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. If you’re a therapist, I’m not saying anything against you. I’m just saying that brain function can even get good enough to where counseling may not even be necessary for that person. I’m all over counseling for those of you who have PTSD and all those types of things. Believe me, I am, but I’m just trying to draw the picture of a spectrum of you may be able to bring your depression and anxiety from here to here with diet and nutrition and working with with your digestive health. So yeah, it’s a big player in my patient population. The gut is a big player on depression and anxiety in my patient population.