Your Gut Health Determines How You'll Respond To Trauma

Photo: Paff

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition—characterized by intrusive memories, changes in mood and thinking, and physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping and concentrating—that's triggered by either experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Scientists, doctors, and patients have long wondered what causes a person to develop PTSD, since not all people who experience traumatic events actually develop the condition. Previous research has shown that factors like living conditions, childhood experiences, and genetic makeup all play a part in the pathology of PTSD, and now, a study from Stellnbosch University shows a person's unique gut bacteria should also be considered an important factor.

The more we learn about microbiome and the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, the more we realize that our gut health rules all. From our metabolism to our immune system to our energy levels, there's hardly a function in the body that isn't influenced by our gut bacteria. This new research just provides further proof that our gut health matters, a lot—especially when it comes to mental health.

In this study, scientists compared the bacterial composition of people who developed PTSD after a traumatic event to those who didn't and found that levels of three specific bacteria—called Actinobacteria, Lentisphaerae, and Verrucomicrobia—were lower in those that developed PTSD. These three types of bacteria have already been linked to immune system regulation in the body. And that's interesting, because PTSD has also been linked to immune system dysregulation, which has led scientists to hypothesize that the unifying factor is inflammation in the body.

We talk a lot about inflammation and gut health here at mbg; in fact, it might even start to seem repetitive. But it's for good reason! These underlying factors are just that important and are often responsible for you not feeling your best—regardless of your specific symptoms. There's good news and bad news here: The bad news is that you can't get healthy if you don't address major underlying issues like inflammation, dysbiosis, and leaky gut. The good news is that addressing these issues—through diet and lifestyle change—can make an absolutely massive impact on your health, no drugs required.

Ready to heal your gut? Here's how long it actually takes.

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