Can Anxiety Be Caused by Poor Gut Health?

  • 4
  • 493
  • 02 Dec 2023
Scroll Down To Discover

Let it all out. Trust your instincts. Make a difficult decision. We've all heard these sayings, but have you ever wondered why so many emotional responses are associated with our digestive systems? What happens in our gut influences our brain and vice versa; in fact, our gut health is linked to anxiety.

Although our emotions are complex, we do know that they are deeply embedded in the brain. In this essay, I'll explain how each component works. Then, I'll go over a multidimensional approach to gut health and anxiety relief.

How Gut Health And Anxiety Are Connected

Our digestive system (gut) is linked to our central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) by the gut-brain axis. The endocrine system is another factor that connects gut health with anxiety. This is where all hormones are produced, distributed, and regulated.

Understanding these links enables us to see how poor gut health might lead to worry.

Hormones and substances that circulate across these systems are analogous to the instrumental notes in a symphony. Each has a distinct origin and function. Their harmony, however, is what forms the musical masterpiece.

The fourth component is the vagus nerve. Consider it as the maestro directing this grand orchestra. It's an important role in the interplay between gut health and anxiety because it's an important part of the gut-brain axis.

The vagus nerve is in charge of involuntary body activities. Breathing, digestion, and heart rate are all important aspects of anxiety control.

It's worth noting that each section of this orchestra has an impact on the others. Taking care of ourselves by practicing effective stress management benefits our gut health and reduces anxiety.

Hormone Harmony Improves Gut Health and Reduces Anxiety

The gut-brain axis is made up of six major hormones and neurotransmitters (chemical messengers). They control blood flow, digestion, nutritional absorption, immune system intestinal characteristics, and the microbiome (natural gut bacteria).

This intricate interaction has a direct impact on anxiety and sadness.


In moments of stress, excitement, or threat, the endocrine system produces and manages this hormone. It is widely referred to as the "fight-or-flight" hormone. It's natural, necessary, and even advantageous. Adrenaline propels our bodies into motion, allowing us to avoid danger without having to think about it.

Long-term, continuous adrenaline rushes, on the other hand, can be harmful to our health. One disadvantage of adrenaline is that it contributes to anxiety.

You know how we prefer to conceive of worry as a cause of bodily tension? It has the opposite effect in the intestines. It relaxes the stomach and intestinal muscles and reduces blood flow to them. This mechanism slows or even prevents digestion from taking place.


This stress hormone stimulates the consumption of glucose (energy) by the brain. It disables non-essential brain activities so that it can focus on urgent action.

This is critical if you need to flee from danger. It also provides us with the energy we need to get up in the morning and keep going throughout the day. Other advantages include improving immunological function and lowering blood pressure.

Again, we can have too much of a good thing. Excess cortisol production causes inflammation, which contributes to anxiety and digestion troubles in the long run.

A "leaky gut" is one such issue. When particles pass through our gut wall and enter our bloodstream. Due to a lack of clear and consistent testing results, "leaky gut" is not an established medical diagnosis. In the medical field, this is referred to as "intestinal permeability."

According to research, this is found in a variety of diagnosable illnesses. It is present in two major digestive disorders: celiac disease and Crohn's disease. It has also been connected to other diagnosable problems such as food allergies, anxiety, and depression.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)

GABA is a natural brain relaxant that improves our mood. It aids the body's relaxation following a stress-induced neurotransmitter release (e.g., cortisol and adrenaline).

Gut bacteria contain GABA receptors as well. Anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and mood problems result from reduced GABA activation.


This serves two purposes. First and foremost, it is a neurotransmitter. It boosts attention and keeps blood pressure stable during stressful situations. It is also responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycles, emotions, and memory. Norepinephrine, a stress hormone, instructs many organs and processes to remain alert until we are 'out of danger.'

Furthermore, higher norepinephrine levels have an impact on our intestinal health. It makes germs like E. coli and Campylobacter more virulent. When we are exposed to these microorganisms, we become more susceptible to foodborne illness.


The gut produces around 95% of the body's serotonin.This fact alone should cause us to pay more attention to the interplay of our gut, brain, and emotions.

Serotonin is the "good mood" molecule in the brain. Low amounts might lead to despair and anxiety. Changes in serotonin levels can also alter sleep habits, lowering mood further.

Serotonin's involvement in digestion is to keep gut function regulated. The digestive illness IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is directly affected by serotonin levels. Constipation and/or firm, lumpy stools are common symptoms of low levels. Excessive levels cause watery, loose bowel motions.


This is the "reward" chemical responsible for behavior. It has an impact on our mood, emotions, and stress reaction. Low dopamine levels can cause sadness, whereas high amounts can aggravate anxiety. Maintaining a healthy balance of this primary mood influencer, like serotonin, is critical.

Dopamine also has an impact on our digestion. The GI (gastrointestinal tract) produces almost half of the dopamine in the body. Dopamine balance is critical for gut health since too little might disrupt digestion.

Non-Food-Related Habits to Improve Gut Health and Relieve Anxiety

What can we do now that we have a better knowledge of the link between poor gut health and anxiety?

It's easy to believe that nutrition is our only option for improving digestion and, by extension, anxiety. However, we can adopt a more comprehensive approach. We get several advantages by not confining ourselves to a particular mode.


Mantras are just statements that are spoken. "I choose to feel peace," for example, or "I feel myself relaxing with every breath." These affirmations help to refocus the mind and reset the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

Remember that the ANS is in charge of our involuntary processes such as breathing and digestion. It reduces our respiration and heart rates, both of which are elevated under stressful situations. The benefits extend much beyond the time spent practicing.

When we make mantras a daily habit, it becomes simpler to refocus when anxiety strikes.


Mudras can also help with anxiety, despair, stress, and traumatic situations. Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa's book, Meditation as Medicine: Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force, gives scientific evidence of the physiological and mental-emotional advantages of this practice.

Mudras are intentional postures, gestures, and finger placements of the arms, hands, and fingers. This is frequently done in conjunction with mantras and/or breathwork. These enable us to enjoy peaceful recovery.

Specific mantra/mudra combinations are included in the book for gut health and relief from digestive issues, as well as for depression and anxiety.

Vocal Vibration

What is the connection between our vocal cords and digestion? As it turns out, a lot.

The vagus nerve is stimulated by vocal cord vibration. Remember, this is the maestro, bringing together gut health and brain health in perfect harmony. It has a direct impact on both digestion and mood.

One simple way for vagal toning is to chant mantras. There's no need to make an extra effort if you're already using mantras in your meditation. If this seems too woo-woo or weird, simply sing or hum your favorite music. The goal here is to use your vocal range in whatever way feels comfortable for you.


Yoga positions, in the case of anxiety and gut health, are mudras for our entire bodies.

Flexing and extending into asanas (yogic positions) has numerous benefits. It stimulates our energy centers and allows us to concentrate on our breathing with intention. Yoga has even been shown to boost nutritional absorption in studies. As previously said, all of these advantages alleviate anxiety and stomach disorders.

Some yoga positions are particularly good to our digestive systems. A gentle Bridge Pose, for example, activates and extends the abdominals. Padmasana (cross-legged pose) boosts digestive enzymes.

All yoga poses serve to calm the nervous system, which aids in stress and anxiety reduction.

Rest and Digest

It is no surprise that this word is used to describe the physiological condition that is the polar opposite of the anxiety-inducing "fight or flight." Stress impairs digestion since our bodies are geared to focus all of our efforts on survival. (If you're fighting off a bear attack, you'll need every ounce of energy you can muster until you're safe!)

Many of today's concerns aren't life-or-death situations. But our physiology doesn't know the difference and reacts in kind to stress signals.

We can enhance our digestion by minimizing stress. This is important because we need our bodies to get the most out of the nutrients in our diet.

Final Thoughts

There are clearly strong links between our emotions, anxiety, and gastrointestinal health. Healing any of these elements of ourselves has a cascading effect that improves all of them.

When we use a holistic approach that involves both the mind and the body, we may easily enhance gut health and decrease anxiety.

Related Posts
© Image Copyrights Title

How to start Home renovation.

© Image Copyrights Title

Warriors face season defining clash

Commnets 0
Leave A Comment