When visiting their psychiatrist, most people would be surprised if the doctor prescribed a daily dosage of seaweed, yet there’s growing evidence that this all-natural resource can contribute to better mental health. A return of interest in the brain-gut connection is part of an approach to more holistic mental health treatments. Here’s why more health professionals are encouraging their patients to remain conscious of the brain-gut connection and how seaweed can make proper gut and mental health easy.
What You Need to Know About the Brain-Gut Connection
The idea that there is a direct connection between what you eat and your mental state is not a new concept. Physicians in the 19th century believed that dietary choices could impact mental health in positive or negative ways. Yet beliefs about the brain-gut axis were mistakenly sidelined as scientific knowledge expanded and old theories were viewed with skepticism. In recent decades, scientists have returned to the concept of the brain-gut connection, specifically focusing their attention on the enteric nervous system (ENS).
The ENS is a collection of millions of nervous cells spread throughout the GI tract, which when irritated can contribute to anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions. Ailments ranging from constipation and diarrhea to bloating and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause far more than GI distress, triggering significant mood changes on their own. Studies even show that a higher-than-average number of people suffering from IBS also struggle with anxiety and depression.
People can prevent adverse reactions in their ENS cells from occurring by providing their bodies with the probiotics necessary for a high functioning and healthy digestive system. When choosing food to fight depression and anxiety, anything with probiotics or prebiotic substances that feed the probiotic bacteria, are an excellent choice for treating the whole body.
How Seaweed Fits Into the Picture
One of the benefits of seaweed is many species are a rich source of prebiotics, providing the human GI tract with the fiber necessary for beneficial bacteria to grow. People who include seaweed as a regular part of their diet, in addition to receiving the other benefits of eating seaweed or taking kelp dietary supplements, are less prone to extreme bouts of depression.
Long-term studies of 500 Japanese adults from 2008 to 2011 suggests that a higher seaweed intake could contribute to lower instances of depression. Though more research needs to be conducted, there are some clear signs that adding seaweed to regular diets can boost the brain-gut connection and help chase away the blues.
Want to learn more about the brain-gut connection and seaweed? Reach out to our seaweed experts to help you improve the quality of your all-natural pharmaceutical products.