“My mom has irritable bowel syndrome.” What? Is this really being said about me? You let your kids watch Along Came Polly and suddenly they catch on to what may really be happening in their own family. Yes, this is a blog about an imbalanced gut flora system. You may or may not find this topic appealing. However, before just resisting- based on the topic, you may wanna read if you have ever taken an antibiotic, swam in a chlorinated pool, have felt anxious, depressed or even experienced a sense of having a foggy mind. I am here to tell you that your gut is actually referred to as your second brain (enteric nervous system). Sound funny? It may- and this topic can certainly generate some chuckles but the facts still remain- when we damage our gut, we damage our entire system!
This is not by any means an academic paper. I am not writing in apa format and all that fun stuff but I will definitely provide some references at the end so you can continue to read and research if you should choose. I also need to add that I am not a physician in any way. Just a semi-normal girl, wife and mom who has sought out to find overall health for myself and my family!
By now you probably know and understand the importance of “good bacteria.” You have seen the commercials for yogurts and probiotics and the topic is discussed all the time. The latest knowledge that I have obtained is how chlorine actually disrupts the healthy bacteria that resides in the gut. How can this be? (I love swimming and was terribly troubled by this). But, further research has validated this new info and from some of the research I have read, chlorine is just as disruptive to the healthy bacteria as antibiotics are. This is totally lame but really puts a lot into perspective for me and some of the gut disabilities I have experienced. -I refer to it as a disability cause for me, it is!-
More interesting info, especially if you are a mental health professional, is that our gut actually produces about 95% of our body’s supply of serotonin. Do you know how huge this is? Although the gut brain connection is still being studied and developed, we can certainly understand how an imbalanced gut can affect mental health. For me, I sometimes feel like there is a button in my stomach that connects straight to the brain and fires a signal that causes an instant flight or fight response for no apparent reason. Sometimes I feel like I have damaged my own vagus nerve beyond repair.
If you know me well you know that I was a frequent strep throat flyer and took many doses of antibiotics growing up and well into my adulthood. I have since learned that there are other effective measures to use when you are sick that will not have the lasting impressions of an antibiotic. Moving forward, I am in full gut repair and it is not a fun time. I never knew how sick I really was until I started a therapeutic dose of probiotics and began experiencing what is often called “die off symptoms.” This is not a lie cause I do feel, at times, like I am dying. However, die off symptoms are more related to the bad bacteria dying off while the good bacteria creates the balance that is needed. Still, I feel like I am dying!
Here is to my second brain and finding the balance that my body needs!