Submitted by lilm8ey t3_yuytf5 in askscience

May just be coincidental and my mind crossing wires they shouldn't - but I've noticed whenever I'm bloated or my digestive system isn't working as it should, I experience periods of super low self confidence, depression, anxiety, feel less social, become more introverted, can't look people in the eye.

But when my system is good and working smoothly, I feel light, confident, more energetic, extroverted and more positive overall.

Any real science to this? I'd like to know more.



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d4em t1_iwbz2kw wrote

Gluten sensitivity linked to symptoms of schizophrenia, autism, and depression

Gut microbiome plays a role in stress response, anxiety, and depression

In general, studies right now are still stating further research is needed, but the evidence so far does show a definite link between gut health and mental health.

There's also a bigger overall link between general physical health and better mental health.

Physical exercise linked to better outcomes for (non-bipolar) forms of depression

Physical exercise leads to better outcomes for youth with autism

(Succesfully) quitting smoking improves mental health

Really there's quite a lot to find on this.


zthompson2350 t1_iwcxe7i wrote

We've come full circle. Humors of the body are indeed impacting Humors of the mind.


[deleted] t1_iwd0sy0 wrote



red75prime t1_iwd8tvl wrote

I wouldn't be surprised if it goes both ways. Stress hormones, intestinal pH changes, eating habits changes due to mental causes can probably influence gut microbiota too.


zthompson2350 t1_iwd9luk wrote

I bet you're right but I'd take it a step further and say not just the gut biome but all parts of the body. Ever get that sinking feeling in your heart when you get anxiety? Family member of mine thought he was having a heart attack because of anxiety recently and I bet it's entirely possible for anxiety to cause a heart attack. I've had the same feeling but being an anxiety veteran I never went to the ER over it 😆


nokinship t1_iwdc2xo wrote

It's not going to cause a heart attack unless they have heart issues or poor health. Your heart beats at similar rates when you go for a run or have an adrenaline rush on a rollercoaster.


red75prime t1_iwdbm2i wrote

In heart? No. But I used to have a very distinct nagging feeling in the belly in situations when I expected myself to be anxious.


robhol t1_iwg8dff wrote

> I bet it's entirely possible for anxiety to cause a heart attack.

Not on its own, no, unless you were aalready in very poor cardiac health. Of course if you're already at risk, a surge of adrenaline etc. can cause an arrhythmia.


lenpup t1_iwdl88b wrote

There’s also generalized intermediate processes that respond to any physical stressor, including gastric issues, with modification of long term gene expression. This would mean that a gastric disorder would be incrementally adding to systemic stress levels and quite possibly changing the rate at which your body expresses genes for hormones and neurotransmitters, among other things that impact mental health. Edit: I’d cite but at this point the best I can do is say I read the article circa February 2020.


e_j_white t1_iwe31v1 wrote

Thanks for links to all that info.

So do we know what foods and/or diets are best for gut health? Should we actually be drinking those fermented kombucha drinks, lol?


VivendusMoriendumEst t1_iwt34qj wrote

This stuff is amazing but it's so complicated to integrate such recent and preliminary studies into complex multicomorbid systems. Still feel pretty safe saying as always "eat a diverse diet with not too much of anything" which covers many bases. Probiotics and certain yogurt seem reasonable to eat, but as in all else, moderation and consideration.

Whatever you do don't be a Very Smart Man and eat nothing but meat and salt like that conspiracy walker who sounds like Kermit the frog high on Ayn Rand and a thesaurus for 50 long words with no hard meanings.


richesca t1_iwdhg18 wrote

I wrote my dissertation on how the gut microbiome can be involved with neurological disorders such as autism and Parkinson’s. The gut-brain axis is still a system that needs a lot of research but they have found that byproducts produced by gut bacteria can have an influence on the enteric nervous system that is made up of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves that are connected to the peripheral nerves and therefore the central nervous system including the brain. There are many studies on it, interesting ones are on germ free mice, lab raised mice that aren’t colonised with bacteria at birth and raised in a germ free environment.


drinkinlava t1_iwfx2qv wrote

i’m currently doing my dissertation on the link between parkinson’s and the gut microbiome! twinsies!


mfukar t1_iwftphq wrote

Any chance you can link to it or the studies you're refering to?


beleaguered_penguin t1_iwkr3yc wrote

Do you know what effect the removal of the gut has one people then? I've tried looking it up but couldn't find anything.

If the gut has such large effects on the brain you'd expect the removal of the gut to have large effects too.


richesca t1_iwn14le wrote

I didn’t really look at the effects of removing the whole gut, only the microbial populations. However I did do a little research on colitis and the gut microbiome once and people who get partial colonectomies do have less microbial diversity in the gut and experience more metabolic problems as a result of this. They also score lower in cognitive intelligence tests, especially after total removal of the colon. Although it seems that the gut microbiome is intrinsically connected with the brain it’s still not 100% certain what the exact effects of the bacteria are on the brain so it can sometimes be hard to determine cause and effect even in germ free mice studies.


beleaguered_penguin t1_iwp85ev wrote

> They also score lower in cognitive intelligence tests, especially after total removal of the colon

Oh wow, sounds terrifying. Thanks for the response!


ConstipatedGoku t1_iwchtul wrote

You’ll be very surprised to know that your gut microbial culture can play a big role in potential psychiatric disorders/brain function. New research is being done which essentially highlights that many people with psychiatric disorders also have disturbed and imbalance gut microbiota. If you think about it, before your brain gets it fuel it goes to the stomach first, so it makes sense if you have an unhealthy diet or stomach culture you are at risks of an unhealthy brain. Humans are complex living systems which includes many bacterial cultures that keeps us running. A vegan diet or a diet high in greens/vegetables and low in meat/process meats and preservatives is the best protection you can get. Moving away from bacteria it’s good to know that tryptophan is a precursors of serotonin and melatonin. Junk food and a lot of meat can deplete your tryptophan levels. To sum it up a healthy diet protects your short term mood and long term brain health.


L3X01D t1_iwevsha wrote

a healthy diet can and often does include meat. and yogurt especially since it has probiotics in it. theres usually more of an issue with high carb intake than anything else. that being said its all dependent on the individual person and what their gut flora specifically needs and its pretty irresponsible to try and tell hundreds of people you dont know to follow a specific really restrictive diet. if anyone wants actual dietary advice your "best protection" is to do your own research, try things, trust your body, and if you can afford it more than anything else consult a nutritionist about your specific needs


atomstyping t1_iwfvbyq wrote

I appreciate your care and comment but just be careful recommending a vegan diet to everyone as the epitome of health. I used to do the exact same.. I was a vegan for around 4 years, eating what I thought was very healthy food and a very healthy amount with enough calories, and I developed multiple ongoing health issues which only stopped once I truly stopped being vegan. I was in denial for a while about it until I finally realised. Many other people experienced the exact same thing. A vegan diet, to me, is kind of like fasting. It can be good temporarily, and how long one should/can stay on it can vary person to person, but just like any kind of fasting or "juice cleanse" etc it shouldn't be adopted long term otherwise our bodies will suffer.


Ok-Independence-6686 t1_iwg0b3l wrote

how does this apply to carnivores/carnivore diet?


ConstipatedGoku t1_iwgcpz0 wrote

Some people can eat very high amounts of meat because of the variation in gut microbiota but most people can’t do that. Keep in mind you can also train your stomach to a certain degree. As you eat your gut culture can adapt to your diet.


themedicd t1_iwde57q wrote

It's important to note that while a link between gut and brain has been established, which direction the link works in hasn't. It probably goes both ways, but I've definitely noticed that psych likes to blame the gut and GI likes to blame the brain


L3X01D t1_iwey9w1 wrote

just speaking as a chronically ill disabled adult doctors in general (and GI) tends to blame the brain to gaslight patients and out of hubris related to "if i dont know the answer it must not be real" surrounding most medical professionals and their fields. once i managed to eat better my physical and mental health improved a lot well past the placebo period. thats also true of when i started working on my mental health so i agree it probably works both ways. and while ive definitely had psychology acknowledge theres issues with physical health that relate/worsen psychological issues ive never had any psych professional go "well psych cant help you in anyway theres only physical cures for this." they usually refer me to a physical health doctor and still help me manage the resulting stress/depression etc. that comes with trying to navigate the hellscape that is our healthcare system. that being said im in the USA so its supposedly not as dire in other places


_AlreadyTaken_ t1_iwdttsj wrote

I wouldn't be surprised if we see more connections between the gut-brain revolving around the vagus nerve. It joins the brain suspiciously close to areas like the hippocampus and the substantia nigra where we see dementia and parkinson's start.


vw_bugg t1_iwciqyp wrote

The answer is absolutely yes. There have been some good links posted. Hopefully the next few years there will be more research as we finally acknowledge that our gut is essentially a second brain that needs to be kept healthy and functioning. Artificial sweetners, corn syrup, fried crap, poor diet is just not good on so many levels. Your gut bactiria actually help you digest food and directly affect you via chemicals and nutrients released. Its a wholistic system that we may never fully understand but we are getting there.


vw_bugg t1_iwcjjjd wrote

I'd like to also add another bit of interest since you wanted to "know more". Proof in someways on how important gut bacteria is to our overall health. There exists a treatment for people with intestinal issues which, summed up, is essentially a poop transplant. They take some from a very healthy person and seed your gut with it. All that healthy bacteria take hold and suddenly you are functioning significantly better.

(First link i found, in sure theres better ones)


davereeck t1_iwcick2 wrote

This is a really interesting area of investigation. Here is an article on Interoception - the sensation you have of your body's state:

Tl;Dr - your ability to sense things like your heart beat (and presumably how your gut feels) may influence emotions. So in answer to your question: Yes, for at least some scientists.

The book How Emotions are Made is one of my least favorite books ever (the author is incredibly pedantic) but the concept is fascinating. Her name is Lisa Feldmen Barret, and isn't cited in this article (but I won't be surprised to find her lab did a lot of the work).


jnemesh t1_iwdoztp wrote

It's a DEEP rabbit hole to go down, but YES, what you eat most definitely affects your mental state!

Unfortunately, our current health care system emphasizes synthetic drugs over nutrition, so you won't get a lot of info from doctors on this, but there are a LOT of resources available to learn more. Plenty of good scientific studies out there to back up the claims too!

The short version is we need to eat a LOT less sugar, a LOT less processed food, a LOT less carbohydrates, and more whole foods, with an emphasis on vegetables.


rwusana t1_iwejw51 wrote

Not going to lie - if I didn't know better I'd totally believe that medieval stuff about how your digestion determines your personality. Sometimes I'm in an awful emotional state and dumping some logs clears it right up.


Wjyosn t1_iwec1xm wrote

Even at a very superficial level, yes. Aside from discomfort causing stress hormones etc, you have the fact that seratonin is largely manufactured in the gut. Gut malfunction? Potentially less seratonin, which is one of the primary things we treat for depression, with SSRI (selective seratonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs: too little seratonin=bad feels


ToastedBread007 t1_iwdk5bs wrote

I went to Mayo Clinic for super awful gastrointestinal problems and they diagnosed me with brain-gut interaction disorder. Could be worth a google if you are looking for similar info.

Essentially my brain and gut (which has basically a nervous system of its own, many people call the gut the second brain) are super linked so when one of the two is not doing great, the other follows suit.

As someone with stomach and mental problems, this means I don’t feel great the majority of the time 🤪


Maddog_95 t1_iwdpy0v wrote

Same.Went to Mayo even. But I didn’t like the answer they gave me because I’ve been depressed my whole life so I didn’t make sense why now. So I went to a nutritionist to get a third opinion. She ran a stool test and found I had a bacterial infection (C diff). I am now getting proper treatment. Mayo was going to let me walk around believing my brain was the issue and that a stool softener and adding another antidepressant was the solution. If the help Mayo gave you is enough than good!! But if not I would recommend finding a local nutritionist, naturopath, anything.


ToastedBread007 t1_iwvi2km wrote

I talked to a nutritionist and she just said to try going off of added sugars. No one has ever run a stool test and I’ve had issues for 5 years..


FiftyNereids t1_iwcp7r1 wrote

Check out the book Brain Maker by David Perlmutter MD. The book goes into the science of gut biome and how it affects your brain, mental health and various other conditions.

In short yes actually gut biome plays a massive role in mood and mental afflictions. Way more than someone would actually think.


MXSynX t1_iwd623c wrote

Yes, as some guys already mentioned: it's a new field, there is evidence, but no clear picture as to how far the manipulation/stimulation works.

Another keyword is "Extracellular Vesicles" that happened to be neglected in the body. Our cells and also bacteria secrete them, filled with a plethora of molecules of many many classes, which alter the body's response to stimuli.

Basically, what microorganisms have been doing to plants/other organisms, but now we know how and that it is happening similarly in us, too.


eljefino t1_iweoct5 wrote

Anti-depressants can sometimes help with digestive issues as there's a LOT of brain-to-stomach neuron activity. If crippled, body goes whacko. The right drugs help connect the two.

You may also be clinically depressed but the most noticeable symptom is your gut.

Talk to your doc!


adyyc t1_iwf3jdu wrote

for sure it affects, apparently “the number of bacteria in the body is actually of the same order as the number of human cells” … we fluctuate between being more or less than 50% human😅🤦‍♂️


Sergeace t1_iwfzbm2 wrote

This is significant because we now know we have 3 sources of genetic material within ourselves: our own chromosomal DNA, our circular mitochondrial DNA (inherited by our mother's mitochondrial DNA), and gut biome DNA.

Research has shown that gut biome DNA has been responsible for protein synthesis that is released in our bodies, but the implications of this still needs tons more research. As technology develops and knowledge is shared, we will hopefully further our understanding of this unique relationship between our brains and gut.


mrbones59 t1_iwcozyf wrote

Just as someone with a couple less feet of digestive track I say yes, you bet and no doubt. I felt like crap for years before my surgery. It came on slowly enough that I didn’t realize how bad I felt, all around felt. My boss said I was like years ago. It’s easy to ack like you feel well when you feel well. I have no medical reasoning, it’s just my experience.


goldenmushie t1_iweofbb wrote

I feel the same thing been asking myself the same question .... I got on a excersuse regimine and take vitamins along with magnesium citrate .... I still have these issues but the mood swings are less severe ... I almost feel like I cycle ... if you find any answers let me know lol


Henkie664 t1_iwfgr0m wrote

So yesterday I was reading this study which I think you find interesting. I'm a medical student interested in infection diseases, as I was looking for some information I randomly cane across this article. This study stated that there might be an association between toxoplasmose and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Toxoplasmose can be transmitted by infected cats and causes fever / muscle pain / swollem lymph nodes.

While this doesn't say anything about your specific situation, it might say something about that the possibility between an infection and behaviour.

Now in your case, are your symptoms from an infection or maybe your behaviour/ general feeling causes your symptoms, or another cause

Edit: When you feel bloated it doesn't sound so weird that you are more shy right


dmo99 t1_iwfmil3 wrote

Absolutely. You can eat food that will trigger this. Sugary crap. And if you aren’t going to the bathroom regularly . Usually it’s diet related. Eating so much garbage your body can’t keep up. Overeating will do this. Anytime I was backed up .‘I was useless . Lethargic and zero energy . So can appear as depression for me. But it goes away soon as I’m back on schedule


ErnestBatchelder t1_iwfoisy wrote

It's called the "microbiome-gut-brain axis" & your body makes 95% of serotonin in your gut, along with many other chemicals that help the brain function well. Plus, the gut has its own central nervous system.

From the APA That gut feeling
With a sophisticated neural network transmitting messages from trillions of bacteria, the brain in your gut exerts a powerful influence over the one in your head, new research suggests.


silver4monsterz t1_iwfr3dl wrote

Yes. Dysbiosis (disfunction) of gut microbiom affects the nervous system widely. It can cause a wide variety of problems ranging from mental illnesses like depression to neurological diseases like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson, etc. Microbiota dysbiosis affects other systems of the body as well.


adiquette t1_iwfrscw wrote

One of my postdoc research grants for some 3 years was gut microbiota effects on aging. During that time I have read so many articles providing conclusive data about the guy microbiota affecting your appetite, dietary choices, mood, cancer resistance, immune system, types of immune responses, amount of inflammation or even sleep patterns.

The details go as far as to discuss the combined effects of different bacteria/microbes in general vs single strains, and whether or not they are fre floating in the lumen on the intestines or are adhered to the intestinal wall.

All the details mentioned have certain effects on the features and properties of all the microbes.


RManDelorean t1_iwexjbv wrote

Yes. You're kinda asking 'does the food we eat affect us and does that affect how we feel' not trying to be condescending, just finding something to elaborate on. I mean we all know "hangry" is a thing, and I think you could say alcohol and other ingestible drugs definitely count as far as what you consume being able to directly affect your brain, I know 'drunk' isn't the same as base state of mental health, but the physiological pathway is there to get from your stomach to brain. So yeah, for the most part, anything you eat gets distributed everywhere. If you have a healthy diet with all the right vitamins and nutrients as whatever works individually for a healthy carb/lipid/protein ratio, then your muscle and organs will work better and your brain is no exception. Healthier diet, healthier body, healthier brain