BugsIn my guest blog on Saratoga.com, I review various factors that contribute to any health imbalance. For example, genetic predispositions, infections, dietary factors, environmental exposures, exercise, stress, hormonal balance, gut health, microbiome health, and social and emotional health are just some considerations for a functional or integrative doctor to compile an effective wellness protocol. (Phew, long list!)

Click here to read about an environmental, social, and microbe link to brain health that demonstrates how several of these triggers may be at play when balancing brain health.

Specifically, I highlight:

  • The link between pesticides and ADHD
  • The social connection to ADHD
  • The Gut-Brain Connection & Psychobiotics (the power of our 100 trillion tiny friends!)


Speaking of Gut Bugs….

I couldn’t escape reporting on my favorite topic of gut bugs in my blog. I’m kinda obsessed with our buggy friends. I’ve been studying these little critters like crazy and becoming a big admirer. I’m now dedicated to making others aware of how to be healthy “bug vehicles.”

This is because these little microbes are famous for so many reasons beyond brain health! Here’s a review of the benefits of hosting a “happy microbiota population” in our bellies from my previous blog: the manufacturing of vitamins3, modulating the risk for cancer4, pathogen inhibition5, decreasing cardiovascular disease risk,6   positively influencing mood7 and behavior8, assisting with detoxification,9 digestive support 10, estrogen metabolism,11 regulating weight,12-15modulating diabetes markers,16supporting skin health,17 decreasing food sensitivities,18 impacting autism symptoms,10 decreasing the risk for fatty liver disease,20 modulating autoimmunity 21, and more.

Recently, Pscyhology Today reported:

We are never truly alone. On our skin, in our gums, and in our guts live 100 trillion organisms, altogether known as the microbiome. These beasties comprise 90% of the cells of our bodies, though these cells are so tiny in size that it appears our own human cells predominate. It is only recently that we have begun to study these organisms with any depth. Most of them live within the gut, and cannot be cultured, and only with the advent of advanced genetic testing have we been able to have a better understanding of the variety and numbers of microbes we’re dealing with. They are Bacteria, Archaea (link is external), and even some eukariotic (link is external) parasites, protozoans, and fungi.

What do they have to do with psychiatry? It turns out way more than we might have suspected. The gut and brain have a steady ability to communicate via the nervous system, hormones, and the immune system. Some of the microbiome can release neurotransmitters, just like our own neurons do, speaking to the brain in its own language via the vagus nerve. 

This gut-brain connection is providing new meaning to the term, “you are what you eat!”

There’s lots of ways to accomplish a healthy microbiome including eating a whole foods, fiber-rich diet, exercising, taking probiotics, and modulating stress.

Check out this video summary from a TED talk on microbes below:

Now answer this question. Are you human or microbe? Modern day sci-fi, right?