Trauma. Gut issues. Neuroinflammation.
These three really are the naturopathic trifecta in predicting mental health issues. Three key drivers in the downward spiral that causes relationship breakdowns, career setbacks and personal development plateaus. Each of these parts create stress within the body and together, the perfect storm.
Just so that we are clear, trauma is not necessarily the event per say, it is what you perceive yourself to be after the event. It is about how the event changed you and the lens in which you see the world.
Let’s have an example- school!
Keeping in mind that this part of our lives is rich in learning about who we are, who we perceive ourselves to be and what the world perceives us to be. So, if you are called on in class to answer a question and you do not know the answer, you may not care or you may feel really silly. If it is the latter, you may continue the day looking for other places where you don’t know the answers, you may be genetically wired for this response.
(Dr Brene Browns work always comes to mind for me here. She discusses how we will always find evidence of what we search for, as we have literally made it our mission. It is purely perception and rarely true, but no one is there to police those thoughts, are they!) So through out the day/ week/month, your young self is certain that you are not only silly, but now you are stupid. This impacts they way you show up on every level and feeds an unworthiness spiral that no one has any idea about. You no longer put your hand up in class and you do not try, for risk of failure and being caught out as an imposture, even at such a young age.
So trauma does not have to be violent nor earth shattering to make an impact, it just needs to have made an impact.
Genetics load the gun and the environment pulls the trigger.
Those of us who have a genetic predisposition or a long family history of trauma may naturally lean towards negative self talk, self sabotage and consistently checking for external validation.
If your environment supports this negative feedback loop, your body experiences a chronic stress state which is pro inflammatory. Now we are throwing fuel on the fire.
The best way to mess around with our mental health, is lack of supporting gut bacteria, inflamed mucosa and digestive absorption issues. (Translates commonly to bloating, pain, constipation/diarrhoea or reflux/flatulence)
Considering that up to approximately 95% of our neurotransmitters hang out in our gut, making sure excellent connection between gut and brain is paramount to balanced mental health. If our absorption is poor, not only will it be difficult to utilise what we put into the body, it may also be hard to get rid of our wastes effectively too. Imagine a blocked up sink and more dishes that need washing….
Poor availability and/or absorption may lead to GABA deficiency or lack of amino acids like tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine. (GABA deficiency- irrational fear, apprehension, insomnia, poor concentration, social withdrawal, vulnerability, irritability and movement disorders)
Of course genetics also plays a huge role in neurotransmitter “deficiencies” as you may have a fast or slow transporter system, leading to a higher susceptibility of mental health imbalance.
To be clear, we all have mental health and we all fluctuate in our functionality, sometimes depending on the day, the hour or the trigger.
A common love hate relationship we all play with is with alcohol. Alcohol has a GABA like effect, one reason why many people drink. However, it also messes up the gut bacteria, so it actually feeds the problem further and may contribute to inflammation.
Have you ever tried to hold a conversation with a person as they are suffering with a migraine? They find it very difficult to keep their train of thought and keeping up with the conversation. Now imagine this at a lower intensity but constantly. That brain fog, lack of motivation, depression and/or anxiety may likely be another branch of a complicated tree.
Neuroinflammation is not new, we just have to be a little more specific in the way we manage it. Wen need to bring the roaring fire down to a much slower simmer as quickly as possible in order to gain momentum and have you feel better, faster.
Every client that I see, completes a neurotransmitter appraisal so that we know where to begin, right away. While inflammation is a priority, clear clinical strategy moves you quickly so that we can get to the cause of the problem.
There is SO much that can be done to support your body. As we move in to the cooler months with less sunlight, we need to be very self aware of how we are feeling.
This is the absolute BEST time to start nourishing your cells, weeding out the cheeky foods that will never allow us to thrive and really turning in to shift in a way that you never have before.
If you would like to know more about how stress impacts your body, simply click the link below for a free workshop delivered immediately to your inbox.
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