Eat Well Feel Well - Gut Health And Mood

What is the connection between your mood and what you eat? In this section we want to show you how an imbalanced gut can affect more than just how your body feels. It can be a contributor to many mood imbalances as well! The following recipes, articles, and posts will bring you insight on how your diet and the balance of gut flora shapes the mood your in.

Obesity and Bacteria: What’s the Connection?

Learn About the Unseen Allies That Keep You Healthy and Happy

We are learning more about  how good bacteria that occurs naturally in the gut can affect our overall health and well-being.

Six out of ten Americans are overweight or obese leading to increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases. Research shows that overweight and obesity are also directly associated with low levels of good bacteria in the gut.

Diet directly influences which kind of bacteria are populating our gut. Poor diet leads to  bad bacteria in our gut which impacts health problems such as obesity. Are changes to the gut microbiota a cause rather than a consequence of obesity? We don’t know yet. However, studies demonstrate that carbohydrates found in the Mediterranean diet (particularly the non-digestible carbohydrates such as beans) can improve microbiota in the gut and help treat obesity.

Another complicating factor is that bacterial diversity in the gut tends to decrease with age, meaning a high quality probiotic or prebiotic supplement could be particularly effective in individuals over age 50.

Consult with a Registered Dietitian to better understand your specific requirements for a healthy lifestyle. For more information contact Dr. Algert here.

The Importance of Healthy Bacteria in the Gut

I have a 62 year old friend who was recently referred to a gastroenterologist for upper chest and esophageal pain. The diagnosis was heartburn and she was given an prescription of high dose antacids. Her stress level is very high due to impending move and could be related to the pain—here is what I suggested to her instead of taking a very strong medication:

–Check to make sure that you are getting enough low fat sources of protein in your diet. Most people 60 and over need 1.0 grams of protein per pound of ideal body weight—this could equal 80-100 grams per day. Good sources include fish, chicken, yogurt, milk, eggs and cottage cheese. Higher in fat and calories but still a good choice are nuts and soy products.

—Include a good probiotic containing a variety of beneficial gut bacteria as a daily supplement. A recent study showed that VSL #3, a cocktail of eight different probiotics, leads to an increase of good bacteria (lactobacilli and bifdibacteria) and a reduction in the bad gram negative bacteria in the gut. Overall VSL # 3 improves immunity and decreases risk for heart disease and diabetes. The study added 300 mg per day of fish oil which improved immunity and decreased inflammation further in the 60 patients in the study.

Take home message: As you age we wear down good bacteria in the gut and many people begin to experience non-specific GI symptoms. Be sure that you are getting enough high quality protein in your diet and include a wide spectrum probiotic, such as VSL #3, as a supplement to “spiff up” GI health!

Reference: Rajkumar H, MahmoodN, Kumar M, et al. Effect of Probiotic (VSL#3) and Omega 3on lipid profile, insulin sensitivity, inflammatory markers, and gut colonization in overweight adults: a randomized , controlled trial. Mediators of Inflammation volume 2014 article ID 348959; 8 pages.