How Does Stress Affect The Gut?
‘How does stress affect the gut, exactly?’ For anyone that’s felt gastrointestinal discomfort in those high-pressure situations - you’ve likely asked yourself this question.
After all, many of us have experienced the effects that stress and anxiety can have on the gastrointestinal tract. Whether it’s through ‘butterflies’ in the stomach, increased bowel movements, experiencing flatulence, or indigestion. Though, when you understand just how closely the gut and brain are connected - these effects begin to make a lot more sense.
If you’re wondering ‘how does stress affect the gut?’, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ve covered everything you need to know about stress and its impact on gut health. Find out more below.
What Is The Microbiome?
At this point, you might be wondering - what is the microbiome?
The microbiome is a complex network of bacteria and fungi found in the intestinal tract. It contains trillions of microbes, with up to 1,000 different species. Overall, the system collectively weighs around 2kg and is essentially another organ in the body.
This elaborate system contributes to our general health in many different ways - whether it’s by maintaining our gut health, assisting with digestion, regulating our immunity, communicating with our brain, and so much more.
With all of these responsibilities falling onto the microbiome, it’s clear to see just how important this system is for our health and well-being.
How Does Stress Affect The Gut?
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s answer that popular question - how does stress affect the gut?
When the body is in a state of stress or anxiety, many systems of the body tend to suffer - and the microbiome is no exception. This elaborate network of microorganisms can be reshaped and unbalanced with bad bacteria, through stress-related hormones and inflammation.
In turn, a network of biochemical reactions that allow the gut and the brain to communicate, known as the gut-brain axis, could then potentially trigger changes in mood as the gut releases toxins and hormones in response.
Other than the microbiome, the gut also experiences physiological changes in times of stress due to the fight-or-flight response that comes with it. This includes an increase in stomach acidity, changes in blood flow around the stomach, and increased movement in the bowels. This can lead to conditions such as indigestion, feelings of ‘butterflies’ in the stomach, and diarrhoea.
For these reasons, and more, it’s very important to stay on top of stress management - especially for the sake of good gut health.
4 Ways To Reduce Stress
Are you looking for ways to reduce daily stress in your life, for the sake of your gut health? We’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve listed 4 quick and easy ways to help you relax and destress. Find out more below.
When it comes to releasing stress, one of the best things you can do is to create a daily exercise regime.
Not only does physical activity act as a distraction, but it can also trigger your body to release endorphins. These feel-good hormones help to reduce the effects of stress on the body and promote well-being.
The best part? Nearly any exercise can be used for stress relief - whether it’s walking, running, yoga, swimming, cycling, or anything in between.
Practise Mindful Meditation
Too often, our minds become anxious about the responsibilities to come, making it near impossible for us to be grounded in the present. This is where mindful meditation can become a valuable part of your daily routine.
Meditating regularly can do wonders for your stress levels over time. Practising daily for short periods can help to focus your mind on the moment - which can help to reduce stress, ease anxiety, and improve your mood.
Another great and natural way to reduce stress is to prioritise your sleep every night. After all, it’s easy to forget just how crucial how sleep is for recovery, repair, development, metabolism, function, and so much more.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when a lack of sleep causes increased stress levels. When the body lacks sleep, it reacts as if it’s in a state of stress - which triggers the release of cortisol. This hormone controls the fight or flight response and can increase the heart rate - which isn’t ideal when trying to limit stress.
Disconnect From Devices
If your emails or social media seem to be the root cause of your stress, one of the best things you can do is disconnect from your devices.
For many people, our screens might seem like an unavoidable part of our day. Though, since increased screen times have often been linked to high levels of stress - finding ways to limit time spent on devices is important.
Whether it’s by tracking your screen time, setting limits, or creating screen-free zones - these simple habits will go a long way toward reducing stress over time.
Perkii Probiotics Sparkling Drinks
If you’re looking for ways to support your gut health during times of stress, we’d recommend trying these Perkii Probiotics Sparkling Drinks.
There’s a lot to love about these tasty sparkling drinks! First and foremost, each bottle contains 1 billion Bifidobacterium target-release probiotics, which are proven to withstand stomach acid and get through your gut.
On top of this, the drinks are unfermented, naturally flavoured, and only contain 45 calories per serving. There are also 3 delicious flavours to choose from - Orange Mango Passionfruit, Watermelon Mint Cucumber, and Ginger Kick.
Head to the online store to shop now.
*The information in this article should be considered as advice only. Before using probiotics or implementing any of the information above, speak with a healthcare professional.