What is the Microbiome?
The microbiome is essentially the community of the hundred trillion plus microbes (beneficial and otherwise) that reside throughout your digestive system. A healthy microbiome will provide food to heal and repair the bowel, settle inflammation, promote immune health and, balance the numerous brain chemicals that reside in our gut.
How do I know if my Microbiome is unhappy?
Bloating, Indigestion, Constipation, Diarrhoea, Abdominal Pain and Cramping all indicate that your digestive system and therefore microbiome is not functioning optimally. More often than not, in many gastrointestinal issues there is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and, a poor supply of the good bacteria. This imbalance directly and negatively impacts mood.
How does my microbiome effect my mood?
Around 90% of our serotonin (our happy brain chemical) is produced in the gut, but only in the presence of good bacteria. Good bacteria however can only be manufactured when the digestive system is functioning optimally. To take this one step further, the digestive system is at its most effective when we are relaxed and present. In fight/flight mode, digestion and the subsequent absorption of nutrients (including known building blocks of serotonin) is simply not a priority.
How can Meditation help my Microbiome?
Mindfulness Based Meditation engages the part of the nervous system (Parasympathetic Nervous System) that is responsible for good digestion and absorption of nutrients. Here, the digestive system actively secretes all the digestive juices and enzymes required to maintain a healthy microbial environment. This improves the restrictive and often uncomfortable symptoms of digestive based disorders and changes the structure of the microbial population involved in mood regulation. Whilst medications and supplements such as probiotics can assist digestive function, it is the nervous system that ultimately needs addressing.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.