Why stress can destroy your gut - and the simple fix that works

April 08, 2014
Volume 11    |   Issue 14

Stress doesn't cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but it does trigger inflammation in the intestines which can trigger some of its unpleasant symptoms. The key to stopping the symptoms is to reverse this inflammation, says a new University of Michigan Health System study. And there's a simple way to do so. Let me explain.

When you get stressed, your brain-gut interactions can change, leading to the inflammation that contributes to belly pain, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. In order to keep your gut healthy, you need a component called an inflammasome. Unfortunately, stress suppresses inflammasomes, which then leads to inflammation.

Fortunately, animal models are showing that probiotics can reverse the effects of stress.

According to senior study author and gastroenterologist John Y. Kao, MD, "The effect of stress could be protected with probiotics, which reversed the inhibition of the inflammasome. This study reveals an important mechanism for explaining why treating IBS patients with probiotics makes sense."

You probably know that probiotics are "good" bacteria that help keep your gut functioning properly. They help control pathogens, improve digestion and nutrient absorption, and aid your immune system. In the study, the researchers examined the impact of stress on mice. They found out how it affects gut bacteria and how probiotics can help.

When the mice were stressed, they released a hormone that kept their inflammasomes from functioning properly. When this hormone inhibits inflammasomes, the composition of the gut changes, but for mice with stress-induced inflammation, probiotic therapy helped.

Kao notes: "Additional clinical study is required to determine the optimal probiotic therapy.  Patients can start living healthier lifestyles to improve their gut microbiota such as adding more fruit and vegetables to their diet and looking for ways to keep stress in check."

The optimal probiotic therapy could be different for every individual. So you need to figure out what works for you. Some people need to take three or four probiotic capsules each day, some less. And you need to take this amount until your gut feels better and returns to normal. The good news is you can keep your gut healthy. It starts by taking a high-quality probiotic like Advanced Probiotic Formula. It will help you combat stress and keep your gut healthy and comfortable.

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University of Michigan Health System (2013, March 14). Probiotics reduce stress-induced intestinal flare-ups, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 15, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314110256.htm.

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