More than a gut feeling

gut health

What if one path to better emotional health led not through the brain, but through the gut? That’s the science behind probiotics and other so-called “gut healthy” products, some of which are sold by Fargo-based vitamin and supplement company Swanson.

But this is no well-timed product plug. The stakes are high, says Britta Sather, licensed nutritionist at Swanson.

“It’s widely known that nutrition plays a key role in your physical health, but nutrition directly affects our mental and emotional well-being, too,” she explained.  “Our gut is often referred to as our “second brain”, because of the close relationship between the gastrointestinal tract and the Central Nervous System.”

Among other offerings, Swanson is emphasizing Dr. Stephen Langer’s Ultimate 16 Strain Probiotic during Mental Health Awareness Month.

Sather continued

“Your GI tract houses billions of bacteria that influence the chemical substances that carry messages from the gut to the brain, like dopamine and serotonin. Eating nutritionally rich foods promotes good bacteria which helps produce chemicals that send positive messages to the brain. And when your GI tract is fed “bad” bacteria from foods like sugar, the chemicals are imbalanced which in turn can lead to an imbalanced mood.’

Swanson’s Dr. Stephen Langer’s Ultimate 16 Strain Probiotic formula also includes the prebiotic FOS and ConcenTrace® trace minerals, which are not found in any off-the-shelf product. Prebiotics and trace minerals are important because most individuals are lacking them in their diets, yet they’re absolutely vital to the enzymatic processes necessary for healthy digestion and the maintenance of beneficial bacteria.

Expanding further on supplements and mental wellness, Sather said that while vitamins and supplements alone are not a cure-all for mental wellness, there are some specific “go-to” choices for those looking to maintain good emotional health.

“B vitamins are particularly important for mental health, with B12 and folate being essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system,” she pointed out. “Vitamin D is a great supplement for supporting mood. Magnesium and Zinc are two minerals tied directly to mental health. Omega-3 Fatty acids have been extensively studied for mental support as well.”

“We’re here to point people in the direction of supplements that might play a positive role in their overall emotional wellbeing,” she said. “Ultimately, your doctor is the best person with whom to discuss your health choices, including vitamins and supplements.”

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