Are our emotions controlled by the gut?

Exploring our emotions with Kitsa Yanniotis: How the gut has an important role to play in our emotional wellbeing.

The gut is now more commonly referred to as our second brain as we have an extensive network of neurons that line our gut and are the same as those in our brain! So it stands to reason that almost any emotion we feel is as controlled by the brain as it is the gut. Whether you are feeling anger or excitement, sadness or anxiety, all these emotions can trigger physical symptoms in the gut.

If a client comes to see me and has emotional disturbances the first thing we look at as a GAPS practitioner is their gut health as I strongly believe our emotions and how we feel starts in our gut. It then follows that the state of our gut can impact our emotional wellbeing. Similarly, if a client is still having ongoing digestive issues we look at how their stress levels and thought patterns are preventing their gut from healing.

Brain transmitters connected to emotions and happiness are made in the digestive tract and there are a lot of fascinating studies which demonstrate that changes in gut microbes (gut flora) result in altered behaviours including emotions.

Fermented Red SeaKraut

Many studies done with mice have shown the benefits of having good gut microbes. These findings support what I have seen in my clinical experience. I have a lot of clients with varying emotional and neurological problems from depression and anxiety to children with ADHD and autism. Once we have successfully healed their gut and their diet has been altered to include nutrient dense and cultured foods daily, most patients become visibly happier, more relaxed and more able to cope with life. It’s such an exciting premise that a person’s negative emotions can have this reversed by improving their gut health.