Are you dealing with Digestive issues; Stress can be one of the reason

What is stress and how it is mediated in body?

Stress response is mediated primarily through Hypothalamus in brain in two ways:

  • Hypothalamus-Pituitary Adrenal Axis (HPA axis) – It deals with chronic/long term stressors such as death of loved one, separation of spouse or even chronic pains, disease or infections. The following hormones are produced by each of gland; Hypothalamus (CRH, corticotropin releasing hormone), Pituitary (ACTH, adreno corticotropin relating hormone), Adrenal (Cortisol and other corticosteroids)

  • Sympathetic Nervous System – The hypothalamus sends signal directly yo adrenal gland to release adrenaline and nor epinephrine. This system deals with acute or daily stressors like running late, work pressure or urgency to finish task, flight or fight response etc

Stress response



How Stress can affect Digestion?

When we are under stress body needs more blood to our arms, legs and head for quick thinking, fighting or fleeing, so the heart rate and blood pressure rises. But conversely the following happens with gut:

-Blood flow to gut decreases four fold 

-Enzyme output decreases many fold so impacting nutrient absorption 

-Oxygen to gut is also decreased 

-Decreased stomach acid production (can cause overgrowth of bacteria or parasites) 


Gas, bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, belching, stomach pains or cramps, urgency to empty bowel, food sensitivities, vitamins and mineral deficiency, loss of appetite, cravings, diarrhoea, constipation etc 

 When these kind of conditions persist in your body for long time then they become chronic and when combined with other negative emotions like anxiety, anger, bad personal relationship they then turn into some serious Digestive disorders or other like

  • IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Peptic ulcers/ H.pylori 
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • GERD (gastro oesophageal reflux disease)
  • Autoimmune disorders 
  • Allergies
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia 

A dysfunction in gut sends signal to the brain just as a dysfunction in brain sends signal to the gut. Therefore dysfunctional gut can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress and depression. This is what we called “Gut-Brain Connection”

In Nutshell-

“Stress can lead to Gut disorders and Gut disorders can lead to brain disorders”

What you can do to lower Stress and improve Gut health

Lifestyle Strategies:

  • Laughing therapy/Be happy
  • Spending time in nature 
  • Yoga and pranayam (specially Kapalbhatti to improve vagal tone)
  • Mediation (to activate parasympathetic nervous system)
  • Massage therapy 
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Chewing (Lower CRH) 
  • Positive and healthy social relationships 
  • Dancing 
  • Physically active (lower cortisol long term)

Foods found to effective in lowering stress response

  • Extra virgin olive oil (because of high monounsaturated fatty acids)
  • Green tea (due to theanine)
  • Turmeric (by modulating cortisol patterns)
  • Deep sea Fish (Omega 3)
  • Dark chocolate (increases serotonin)
  • Chamomile tea (reduces cortisol levels and has sedating effect)
  • Eating High protein diet combined with healthy fats from nuts and seeds
  • Decreasing the consumption of sugar/refined carbohydrates 

Supplements I found effective to lower stress 

  • Fish oil
  • Magnesium
  • Tulsi
  • L-Theanine
  • Ashwagandha
  • Vitamin C
  • Probiotics
  • Glycine
  • 5-HTP (under supervision)
  • Magnolia official inis bark extract (Relora)

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