Correlation and management methods

Several studies suggest a two-way relationship between a person’s gut and mental health. Probiotics and diet may help a person improve both.

according to National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. At the same time, gastrointestinal diseases are responsible for 100 million Ambulatory care visits annually.

Research exploring whether anxiety and gut disorders are linked has focused on the “gut axis,” a complex system of communication between the two organs, and the role of microorganisms in people’s digestive systems.

This article explores the link between gut health and anxiety, gut issues that cause anxiety and anxiety symptoms, and ways to manage anxiety and gut health.

The gastrointestinal tract or GI tract (GI) is a series of organs, nerves, hormones, and bacteria that work together to… Can Digest food. The brain is directly connected to the digestive system via the central nervous system (CNS), and signals flow between them to control some aspects of digestion.

Learn more about digestion.

Within the lining of the digestive system is another important control center, the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS contains 100 million neurons and can function independently of the brain. Scientists believe It may play a role in the relationship between the gut and a person’s mental health.

according to 2015 review On the gut-brain axis, the ENS and brain communicate to control digestive processes, linking the brain’s cognitive and emotional function centers to the mechanisms of the digestive system. The researchers suggest that this communication system may influence motivation and higher cognitive function.

Experts believe that ENS may also lead to major emotional shifts in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive disorders. Irritation in the digestive system may send signals to the central nervous system that lead to mood changes.

How does gut health affect anxiety?

Several studies have focused on the relationship between the gut microbiome and anxiety. The gut microbiota is a system of microorganisms in the human digestive system, include Trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses that the body needs for optimal health.

Gut bacteria play an important role in regulating the immune system and processing energy from digested food. Changes in the microbiota can affect these functions, and scientists believe mental health can be affected as well.

a 2019 review He suggests that stress and depression can reshape the composition of the gut microbiota through stress hormones, inflammation, and autonomic changes. The gut microbiota responds by releasing metabolites, toxins, and neurohormones that can alter eating behavior and mood.

a 2017 review It explores this relationship further, suggesting that inflammation in the GI tract puts stress on the germs by releasing cytokines (small proteins) and neurotransmitters. Researchers suggest that increased levels of inflammatory cytokines are directly related to symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Learn more about inflammation here.

Irritable bowel syndrome, a contagious gastrointestinal condition involving inflammation and suspected changes in the gut microbiota, has a co-existence between 44 and 88% With anxiety and depression. More research is needed to assess whether this relationship is causal.

what mentioned before 2015 review Animal studies indicate that microorganisms also influence stress reactivity and anxiety-like behaviour. according to 2021 revision, the intestinal microbiota plays a role in the development and function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA coordinates a person’s adaptive stress response, and HPA dysfunction is often associated with anxiety and depressive disorders.

Gut bacteria also regulate the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, a chemical that scientists believe plays a role in stabilizing mood.

Everyone experiences some form of anxiety. But if a person has excessive anxiety that prevents them from living their daily lives, they may have an anxiety disorder.

according to growingAnxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, each with unique symptoms. But people with anxiety disorders typically experience persistent fear or anxiety in non-threatening situations.

Both anxiety and depression linked With persistent low-grade inflammation. People with inflammatory diseases involving suspected macular microbiota changes in the intestine, such as IBS, also have high presence Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

People with an anxiety disorder may also have one or more of the following symptoms:

Learn more about symptoms and signs of anxiety.

Several treatment options can help people manage symptoms of anxiety.

Health care professionals may recommend a combination of approaches, and treatment will vary depending on a person’s symptoms, preferences, and general health.


Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” is a common remedy to worry. Several types are effective in treating anxiety disorders, including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Many studies The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders has been demonstrated. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on finding strategies to reduce the beliefs and behaviors that contribute to anxiety.
  • Exposure treatment: This behavioral therapy can help people overcome certain types of phobias. Psychiatrists instruct people to expose themselves to situations or stimuli that elicit fear or panic; Over time, these feelings diminish.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): This type of therapy uses goal setting and mindfulness to reduce anxiety. ACT is a new form of psychotherapy, but Research ACT is associated with improved mental health and quality of life.

Learn more about the types of treatment here.


Healthcare professionals Maybe too Prescribing medication for anxiety disorders. Medications are not a cure for anxiety but can help relieve symptoms.

The most common types of medication for anxiety disorders include:

Learn more about the different types of anxiety medications.

relaxation techniques

There are many stress relaxation techniques a person can try to reduce anxiety, including:

a Study 2019 It surveyed 1,151 adults, including those who practice meditation and those who have not. Researchers have found that mindfulness reduces anxiety by increasing cognitive reappraisal (an emotional regulation strategy) and decreasing anxiety, rumination disruption, and suppression of emotions.

Playing sports

a Study 2020 Physical activity has been found to protect against anxiety disorders in both clinical and non-clinical settings. Exercise, a subset of physical activity, also significantly reduces anxiety symptoms.

The mechanisms by which physical activity reduces anxiety symptoms are unclear, but researchers believe it is likely a combination of biological and physiological factors.

Learn more about anxiety exercises.

Scientists believe that taking steps to improve gut health may also help manage anxiety.

Research has focused on the benefits of adding probiotics to a person’s diet and promoting healthy gut bacteria through diets high in fiber and low in saturated fat.


probiotics microorganisms Found in fermented foods and dietary supplements. Probiotics may help a person’s body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms or help them return to a healthy state after discomfort.

Learn more about the health benefits of probiotics here.

Various studies have explored the potential of probiotics in restoring the balance of the gut microbiota that has been disturbed by stress and anxiety and whether this improves symptoms of anxiety.

a Study 2021 demonstrated a possible association between probiotic-induced regulation of the gut microbiome and stress/anxiety relief in stressed adults. and Study 2019 showed that eating a probiotic strain, Lactobacillus (The.) plantar P-8, for 12 weeks can relieve stress and anxiety in stressed adults.

a 2019 review It also highlights a study involving Japanese medical students in which probiotic supplementation improved sleep, autonomic balance, bowel habits, and reduced stress and cortisol levels.

Fermented foods are a natural source of probiotics. Common types included:

Learn more about the best probiotic foods for a healthy diet.


The researchers also studied how diet can affect a person’s gut microbiota and how this relates to stress and anxiety.

The 2019 review Mentioned above suggest that diet shapes gut bacterial composition, with macronutrients affecting gut microbiota populations.

Researchers have highlighted the following foods as supporting healthy microbes:

This was in contrast to the excessive consumption of animal protein, saturated fats, and refined or artificial sugars.

The study also suggests that sticking to high-quality diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, reduces the risk of depression.

The Mediterranean diet has anti-inflammatory benefits (inflammation is a risk factor for anxiety and depression), is low in saturated fat and is high in dietary fiber, enhancing its role in supporting a healthy microbiome.

Learn more about the Mediterranean diet here.

A person should speak with a health care professional or psychiatrist if they have symptoms of an anxiety disorder. They can advise the person about treatment options and direct them to needed support.

Likewise, people should seek medical advice if they have persistent digestive issues. The health care team will be able to identify any underlying problems they may be causing, including whether they are related to an anxiety disorder.

It may also be helpful to speak with a qualified nutritionist about how to improve the diet and how to increase your intake of probiotics.

Bowel health disorders and anxiety are common health problems in the United States. Researchers exploring the link between these conditions have focused on the “gut-brain axis,” the complex system of nerves, hormones, and bacteria that allows these two organs to communicate.

Research has shown that stress can alter the composition of the gut microbiota, a system of microorganisms in the digestive system that plays an important role in people’s health. A person’s gut microbiota is also involved in the development and function of his or her adaptive stress response.

Adding probiotics to a person’s diet may help regulate their gut microbiota, which may also help improve symptoms of stress and anxiety. Eating a healthy diet can further support a healthy gut microbiome and reduce the risk of depression.

People with symptoms of anxiety or digestive issues should speak with a health care professional, who will be able to advise them about treatment options.

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