Those of us who grew up in the ‘60s remember hearing about mind-altering drugs. Well, today we have mind-altering microorganisms. The bacteria that live in our intestines and digest our food can change our emotions. You may not like thinking about what lives in your intestines, but your health resides there. Your body is populated by 100 trillion bacteria living in your gut. The numbers and types of bacteria make the difference in whether you are fat or thin, whether you are sick or healthy and whether you are happy or sad.
Normal weight mice whose intestines were populated with bacteria from obese mice developed higher body fat. Their bacteria actually extracted more calories from their food and caused fat gain. The same thing happens in humans. If you are overweight, it might be due to having the wrong bacteria in your intestines. When people lose weight by eating a low calorie diet, they develop the bacteria population of thin people.
Alterations of the gut flora (another name for they various types of bacteria) cause problems like allergies, autoimmune disorders, cancer and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
When our gut flora is out of balance, we do not create as many of the important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Food allergies and intestinal infections can alter the gut flora. So can stress and a diet high in refined carbohydrates. When this happens, serotonin levels can plummet. Serotonin makes us happy. When levels are low, we can feel sad and depressed. The sources of infections need to be discovered and treated. Food hypersensitivities need to be evaluated and addressed. Restoring a healthy functioning gut is an essential step in emotional healing and feeling happy.