How gut health can affect mental health
Fusion Stress and Anxiety can promote your mental well-being and your gut health, it features an herb called Ashwagandha, with supporting herbs such as polygala, citrus peel, holy basil, magnolia bark and poria mushroom.
- Benefits of Ashwagandha for stress and mild anxiety
- What is the gut-brain-axis and its role in gut health and mental health
- The link between gut health and mental health, how does gut health influence your mood?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is used in traditional ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen to help the body adapt to stress and relieve symptoms of stress1. Ashwagandha is a small, woody shrub that is mainly found growing in India, the root is the main part of the plant that is used in ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha contains many therapeutic benefits, due to a diverse set of active constituents, including withanolides and alkaloids.
Three Main Benefits of Ashwagandha
- Helps decrease symptoms of stress.
- Helps the body’s ability to adapt to stress.
- Relieves symptoms of mild anxiety.
Fusion Stress and Anxiety also includes citrus peel, traditionally used in Chinese Medicine as a digestive tonic to relieve digestive symptoms, such as abdominal bloating, feeling of fullness and nausea.
Clinical Trial of Ashwagandha
A prospective, randomised double-blind and placebo-controlled 60-day trial in 2012 studied the safety and efficacy of Ashwagandha root extract in reducing stress and anxiety in adults, and improving overall well-being. 64 adults with a history of chronic stress performed clinical examinations including a cortisol (stress hormone) test, and a self-assessment questionnaire evaluating their stress scores. Subjects were randomly assigned to a placebo control group, or drug treatment group (of Ashwagandha root extract, 300mg). The results of the study showed that the Ashwagandha group presented with a significant decrease in scores on all stress-assessment scales on day 60, compared to the placebo group. No serious adverse reactions were reported.
The results of the study concluded that high-concentration of Ashwagandha root extract reduced stress and improved overall-wellbeing and quality of life1.
How Does Ashwagandha Help Your Gut Health? The Gut-Brain-Axis.
There is a distinct, intimate connection between the gut and the brain, known as the gut-brain-axis. When experiencing intense emotions and nervous tension such as stress, anxiety, anger, or low mood, your brain can send signals to the gut via the gut-brain-axis and trigger disruptions in your gut2. Managing your stress and mood can help minimise these gut symptoms.
This close relationship between the gut and brain is a two-way street, which means that the condition of your gut health can also influence your mood and mental health!
Research about the Gut-Brain-Axis
There is an increasing number of studies focused on gut health and the influence on our mental health. Numerous studies have focused on the gut microbiome and the link to nervous system disorders such as anxiety, concluding that an imbalance in the microbiome and inflammation in the nervous system have been linked as a potential cause for changes in mood4.
The Link Between Gut Health and Mental Health - QLD Health Article3
Hormones, neurotransmitters (messengers in our nervous system), and immune cells are released by the gut and send signals to your brain; this communication is crossed through the gut-brain-axis. When gut health is poor, this communication is impacted and evidence indicates inadequate gut health may elevate the likelihood of experiencing low mood and mild anxiety5. Some factors that can alter your gut health:
- Poor diet
- Inconsistent sleep
- High levels of stress
- Prescription medication such as Antibiotics
- Excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption
The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, with an intimate relationship that can influence gut health and mental health. Poor gut health can increase the risk of mood disorders such as anxiety, and chronic stress can trigger disruptions in the gut causing symptoms such as irregular bowel movements, reflux, and nausea. Ashwagandha root is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen to help the body adapt to stress and promote resilience, and managing stress levels can help improve gut health. Ashwagandha is a featured herb in Fusion Stress and Anxiety with other supporting herbs to help relieve stress and mild anxiety symptoms and improve digestive weakness with citrus peel, traditionally used in Chinese medicine as a digestion tonic.
Always read the label and follow the directions for use.
- Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255–262. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/
- The gut-brain connection (2021, April 19). Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection#:~:text=A%20troubled%20intestine%20can%20send
- The links between your gut microbiome and mental health: is your bug half affecting your mental wellbeing? (2022, August 26). Queensland Health. https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/the-links-between-your-gut-microbiome-and-mental-health-is-your-bug-half-affecting-your-mental-wellbeing
- Clapp, M., Aurora, N., Herrera, L., Bhatia, M., Wilen, E., & Wakefield, S. (2017). Gut microbiota's effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. Clinics and practice, 7(4), 987. https://doi.org/10.4081/cp.2017.987
- Carabotti, M., Scirocco, A., Maselli, M. A., & Severi, C. (2015). The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Annals of gastroenterology, 28(2), 203–209. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4367209/