Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia plague roughly 10% of the population, and those numbers are even higher among teenage girls. With the research linking depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and other mood disorders to biochemical imbalances, researchers have been looking into similar links with eating disorders.
A recent study uncovered a very strong link between “a protein made by intestinal bacteria” and disordered eating behaviors. Apparently antibodies are made to fight this protein, antibodies that end up reacting unfavorably with satiety hormones. Higher levels of these neutralizing antibodies were associated with higher severity of eating disorder symptoms. The potential for healing strategies as a result of uncovering this information are enormous, particularly given the relation to these antibodies and regulation of “feeding, energy regulation and anxiety.”
Researchers are now “working to develop a blood test based detection of the bacterial protein.”
As our recent blog articles have highlighted, a healthy and balanced gut is vital to overall health. Research is increasingly uncovering linkages between the gut and other areas of health, including allergies, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, pain, chronic fatigue, some cancers, acne, Autism, ADHD/ADD, and mood disorders.
Though much of it is anecdotal or in early research stages, many people have found that by repairing their gut health, their symptoms of these and other issues lessen dramatically – or disappear altogether. Countless people have reported decreased anxiety, increased energy and mood, reductions in pain, and other health improvements simply by balancing their gut bacteria.
The question then, is how can we restore and rebalance our gut health?
Probiotics and prebiotics. While pharmaceutical grade supplements can offer great benefits, food sources are the best way to optimize your gut health. Eating fermented foods like saukerkraut, kefir, yogurt, and fermented vegetables are an excellent and easy way to improve your health – and balance your gut bacteria. Start small, you don’t want to shock your system, then gradually increase your intake of probiotic foods. As always, opt for non-GMO, organic, grass-fed sources, as these have been shown to be significantly higher in nutrients and benefits – with the added bonus of supporting local business.