How does happiness arise? How does joy actually come about? There are a multitude of answers to this question. Because our mood is controlled and changed by a number of external influences. The mood is basically something very volatile and unpredictable, because it changes sometimes more and sometimes less, positively or negatively. Whether it's the weather, work environment, family and friends, lifestyle, health, relationships, etc. (this list could go on ad infinitum). What is important, however, is that all of these things can influence and change our mood. The mood that we put on the day is therefore dependent on a large number of variables and influences. Arguably the most important mood-influencing aspect of this list, however, is the food we eat on a daily basis. It has long been known that what we eat has an impact on our mood - so what we eat has a significant impact on our mood - whether positive or negative.
But what has now come into the focus of science is the connection between our diet and our intestinal microbiome, or rather the microbes in our gut and mental health. Various studies have shown that, for example, dysbiosis (imbalance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut) contributes to various mental illnesses and can lead to bad moods, anxiety and even depression.
Conversely, this means that we should not only pay attention to what makes our taste buds happiest when eating. Rather, we should also keep the health of our gut microbiome in mind and thus keep the trillions of microbes inside us happy! And why exactly is that? What we eat can both positively and negatively affect the relationship we have with our little microbes inside us. So this means that the food we eat every day can influence, shape and change this relationship.
You can think of it like this: Your microbes are your partner (just like in a human relationship) - aren't you happier when your partner is happy? So the following applies - happy gut, happy mood!
Basically, our gut is a crucial part of who we are and also has a major impact on how we feel. Now you can find out exactly why this is so!
Neurotransmitter - Feelings of happiness produced by microbes:
The microbes in our gut have quite a few amazing abilities. They help us to digest our food and thus ensure the optimal absorption of nutrients in our organism - as long as they are healthy. They also act like tiny bodyguards inside us, because they can even neutralize or kill various pathogens! But that's not all, because different microbes can produce various vitamins and also produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin or dopamine. (You can find out more about the happiness hormone serotonin here!) Incidentally, it is assumed that around 90% of the happiness hormone serotonin is in our intestines to be produced! That impressive number alone shows how entangled our mood is with our gut health, doesn't it?
The neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for reducing anxiety and stress and also has a positive effect on our night's sleep, is also produced in our intestines. Recent studies show that eating probiotic, fermented whole foods can even help relieve anxiety symptoms. This shows us all the more that our diet can have a major impact on our mood and that we should do our best to provide the trillions of small microbes in our intestines with nutrients in the best possible way.
Leaky Gut & Lethargy:
What exactly is a leaky gut? Our intestines are lined with a protective barrier from the inside. When this works properly, it keeps pathogens, bacteria and toxins from entering our bloodstream. If this is not the case, the intestinal mucosa usually has tears or holes - this means that intruders can easily get into our bloodstream and wreak havoc there. This in turn can trigger inflammation and changes in the gut flora that can lead to problems within the digestive tract and beyond. This inflammation can also lead to symptoms such as headaches and lethargy, i.e. mental lethargy or sleepiness.
So, in turn, this means that an unbalanced gut can negatively affect your mood. But what can you do to bring your gut back into balance? probiotics are of course a good start for this, because they provide your intestines with a whole lot of little helpers that bring your intestinal microbiome back into shape. A good example of this is our Dailybacs - with them you take in a total of 60 billion "good" intestinal bacteria every day and actively support the health of your microbiome! As a perfect complement to this, we have also developed the Mood Up Addons, which take your mood to the next level with natural ingredients such as ashwagandha and saffron. You can find more information here!
Stress and the gut:
You can imagine our intestines as a beautiful garden made up of a wide variety of organisms and plants, which can only thrive in balance and with loving supervision. If it is neglected, the weeds sense their chance and spread quickly and uncontrollably. The beautiful flowers and herbs are therefore crowded out by the weeds. Our gut “garden” is home to a wide variety of thousands of different species and strains of bacteria. If our intestines are in balance, this influences our well-being on many different levels. If this is not the case, it can lead to health problems, which in turn can have a negative effect on our mood.
However, there is a very simple way to influence our intestinal health and thus the bacterial composition in our microbiome. On the one hand, this is achieved through a healthy, high-fiber diet and, on the other hand, through a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The gut communicates actively with the brain through the so-called gut-brain axis. This connection shows that, on the one hand, the gut is negatively affected by stress. On the other hand, she makes it clear that an “unhappy” unbalanced gut can also lead to stress for the whole body.
Precisely for this reason, it is extremely important to deal with stress management yourself in order to protect the body from it in the long term. There are many ways to do this - be it meditation, breathing exercises, yoga or a walk. Do what feels best for you and promises relaxation even in tense situations. Because regular exercise and a nutritious diet have been proven to contribute to improved microbial diversity and thus lift your mood to the next level! You can find out more about intestinal health and your mood here!
Microbes & Mood:
We have already clarified in this blog post that your gut health can affect your brain and mood, which can result in the body reacting to anxiety and stress. A point that should of course not be ignored is that intestinal health also affects digestion and can change it positively or even negatively! If the population of "bad" intestinal bacteria in your microbiome is too large, there is not only the risk of unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation. It can also make it harder for your body to absorb nutrients and vitamins. And this is exactly what can lead to various deficiencies in various vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B12 and vitamin D in particular are more difficult to absorb from a non-intact intestine - they are also important nutrients for mood and energy levels. This is exactly why they are also included in our Mood Up AddOns to take your mood to the next level! Because if the level of exactly these nutrients in your body is low, this can often lead to symptoms such as tiredness, anxiety and tension!
Ups and downs of blood sugar:
It is well known that fluctuations in blood sugar levels can affect mood, as well as cause fatigue, irritability, headaches, difficulty concentrating and a drop in energy. Of course there are a lot of factors that affect the balance in blood sugar levels, but our intestinal bacteria also play a not inconsiderable role. If our microbiome is no longer in balance, it can be for the body to keep the blood sugar level at an even level. And what exactly can you do to keep your blood sugar level in balance? A healthy, balanced microbiome helps with this. You can support this very easily by reducing refined sugar and heavily processed foods. You should also replace simple carbohydrates with whole grains.
We hope that we were able to give you an interesting insight into the symbiosis of the gut and mood and here we have just our well-known mnemonic for you: