Gut Health and Mental Health

Written by John Toomey

Recent research has revealed something quite stunning. We know that mental health problems seem to be on the rise, with a substantial rise in Workers Compensation claims over the past 25 years.

Many theories have emerged such as excessive work hours, toxic cultures, poor leadership, financial pressures and social media have all been blamed. Are these valid? Perhaps they are. But perhaps there is something even more insidious going on.

Over the past ten years we have learned a great deal more about the Microbiome, the bacterial layer of human life that comprises well over 95% of the cells in your body. That is not a typo by the way. The bacterial cells are much smaller than human cells, but they outnumber human cells by somewhere between 500 to 2000 to one.

When the Microbiome is functioning to its fullest potential, when it thrives without limitation, it creates a sort of protective cocoon around the genome and it is pretty much impossible for the genome to get sick.

However, over the past 100 years we have done many things to break down the microbiome, including the use of antibiotics, chlorine in our drinking water and the over consumption of sugars, alcohol and processed foods containing antibiotic type substances.

Since 1995, there has been an explosion in mental health problems along with a significant rise in the rates of autism, dementia in women, Parkinson’s disease in men, and several blood cancers.

Very recent research has revealed an extraordinary ticking time bomb. An agent being used in our agriculture has been aggressively destroying the sensitive membranes that line our small intestine, where the majority of our microbiome lives, the blood brain barrier and in several other organs.

As this membrane is broken down, the microbiome then becomes vulnerable to damage by various pollutants. Further, this chemical agent has similar effects to antibiotics and indiscriminately destroys these sensitive bacterial cells.

The result is mental health challenges on two fronts. First, across the blood brain barrier, the damage can lead to inflammation which seems to effect brain function and mood.

Second, as the microbiome is attacked and begins to ail, something else seems to be happening. The microbiome’s relationship with the human genome is a little like a mother/child relationship. It offers protection and security.

When it begins to ail, the genome seems to respond like a child who fears the loss of its mother. It becomes overwhelmed with negative thought, worry, anxiety, depression and general mental upset.

Of course, there is a way to reverse all of this very quickly and regain the stability that you know is naturally you.

Come and Say Hi, I’ll be presenting two workshops at the Workplace Health & Safety Show 2020 in Melbourne on 27 & 28 May 2020 in the Free Seminar Program