Serotonin is often referred to as the ‘happy’ chemical, is a chemical found in the brain that contributes to wellbeing and happiness. A vast majority of serotonin is produced in the gut, not the brain, so when you’re taking pleasure from love and connection with friends and family, you’re actually indirectly improving your gut health. Holistic health expert Josephine Zappia explains this link and how you can increase serotonin naturally.
Exercise and massage are 2 simple ways of increasing serotonin naturally, but taking care of your gut will also help boost this wonderful chemical.
The Vagus Nerve
The vagus nerve is a large nerve that helps the brain and body communicate with each other. It plays a large role in the body’s job of digesting and moving food from the small intestine to the large intestine.
Just as a leaky gut plays a role in brain function; poor brain health, brain trauma, or brain degeneration play a role in a leaky gut by decreasing activation of the vagus nerve. Low vagal tone reduces gut function, resulting in the backup of bad bacteria from the large intestine into the small intestine.
Parasites and leaky gut
It is possible to unknowingly host a variety of parasites, including pinworms, roundworms or tapeworms in the gut. Nature has several botanicals that work to provide natural support to heal the body expel parasites and they also have antioxidant properties that support the anti-inflammatory response.
Oregano Extract ~ has been used for the management of gastrointestinal infections in natural medicine for decades. Oregano extract is said to have properties that inhibit parasites, and has a immuno-stimulatory effect on lymphocyte production.
Olive Leaf Extract ~ contains compounds that have extremely powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune modulating properties. This serves as a natural agent with anti-fungal, anti-microbial, antiviral, and anti-parasitic properties. They also display anti-pathogenic effects, including inhibiting pathogenic organism reproduction.
Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride invented the GAPS diet (Gut And Psychology Syndrome). This diet follows the basis that gut health is linked with overall physical and mental health .
Believing that poor nutrition and a leaky gut are responsible for many psychological, neurological and behavioural issues, Dr Campbell-McBrides theory, that a leaky gut releases harmful bacteria and toxins into the bloodstream, which then travel to the brain and interfere with the brain functioning, has been used to treat individuals with conditions such as Autism. The theory says that eliminating foods that damage the gut can help treat conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia.
Current research suggests there is a connection between the brain and the gut, particularly for conditions such as anxiety and depression. Studies have suggested that microbes in the gut can significantly affect brain function. There are however mixed reports around certain aspects of the diet.
Sugar and the brain ~ Studies have shown that a diet high in refined carbohydrates may lead to an increased risk for new onset depression in post menopausal women. We know that dietary variations are known to predict the widespread of physical illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease but the possible influence of diet on mental health has been neglected.
Conversely to this research, The GAPS diet has also been used as an alternative therapy for a range of psychological conditions including disordered eating, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and epilepsy.
The theory suggests that eliminating foods such as grains and sugars can help gut health, focusing on fruits and vegetables can prevent potentially harmful strain of bacteria from growing in the gut, and including probiotics such as eating probiotic yogurt, helping to lower blood sugar levels is beneficial to the gut. To follow the GAPS diet one would need to eliminate grains, sugar, soy, pasteurised dairy, starchy vegetables and processed foods from the diet. It is a restrictive diet and can take up to 2 years to complete. At the core of the GAPS diet, people avoid foods that are difficult to digest and might damage the gut flora or gut lining. They replace them with nutrient-rich foods that help the gut heal.
As a holistic health expert, Josephine Zappia believes we all have the ability to heal ourselves naturally when we work with our body rather than against it. For over a decade, she has been practising Homoeopathic Medicine and specialises in skin disease and nutrition.
Growing up in a family of fruit and vegetable providers, Josephine always intuitively understood the nutritional power of natural produce. It would be her own skin condition that would lead her to seek natural remedies and discover the ability to treat and heal the body holistically.
Today she is dedicated to dispelling the myths of natural medicine and helping individuals globally have beautiful skin and achieve wellness from within. She is a qualified Holistic Counsellor and Australian Ambassador for Still Aware, a professional community helping individuals deal with the emotional and physical aftermath of stillbirth.