The interconnection between gut health and mental health
Understanding chronic inflammation, anxiety & stress.
aurum+ is a form of natural medicine for anxiety, depression and stress. To understand how aurum+ works, you first need to understand the link between your immune system, brain and natural environment.
Let's start with chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is your body's way of fighting an outside threat, such as a germ, virus or injury. It's a normal and necessary function of the immune system.
Chronic inflammation is what happens when inflammation persists. Your immune system doesn't press the STOP button and continues trying to fight anything and everything, from your body's own tissue, to harmless molecules in the air, to your gut contents. This wreaks all kinds of havoc - from allergies to diabetes to IBS, even cancer.
The health issues associated with chronic inflammation are steadily increasing and there is now irrefutable evidence showing that chronic inflammation is the most common denominator in psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Inflammation & the brain.
There are two kinds of stress - acute or chronic. Acute stress is usually triggered by a high intensity, high impact moment - a life or death, fight or flight situation.
But chronic stress is when your stress triggers are constant. Your body goes into a prolonged state of inflammation (chronic inflammation) which seriously affects your neurological responses, thanks to the Gut-Brain axis - the nerve that allows the gut microbiome to communicate with the brain and thereby impact your mental health.
Stress & anxiety
When we face a stressful situation, it's actually the immune system that reacts. It sees stress as an outside threat - akin to a virus - and sends the inflammation troops to the brain to 'fight' it. In turn, stress-related mental health disorders like anxiety and depression can themselves cause chronic inflammation. A never-ending inflammation cycle.
It is now an accepted fact that inflammation and depression are linked. The work from our team's 2006 study - published here - has been proved true. The correlation between inflammation and depression is not in doubt in that depressed people demonstrate inflammatory markers.
There is also no question that anxiety and stress also link to both depression and inflammation, as this study explains.
The link between gut health & anxiety, depression and mental health.
Stress might be considered a modern day disease. But our ancestors dealt with constant stress triggers too. So, why are inflammatory psychiatric disorders more prevalent now than ever before?
Because humans are not simply human. We are living breathing ecosystems made up of trillions of microorganisms - most of which are bacteria.
These microbial cells make up your microbiome and are responsible for the function of every organ, including our brain. We are gifted them by our mother at birth, and as we grow we acquire more from our natural environment - family members, animals, soil, water and air.
These 'Old Friends' programme and regulate our immune system so it knows what to fight and what to leave alone. They basically teach the body how to tolerate everyday challenges, including stress.
Modern life’s impact on our microbiome and mental health
Our modern lifestyles have evolved away from nature and we've lost contact with the essential bacteria found in it. We’ve replaced mud huts with concrete towers; our water supply comes from a tap; we live sterilized, sanitized lives.
Our immune systems find it harder to differentiate friend from foe and go into overdrive, resulting in chronic inflammation.
This study compared young adults living in a rural environment, regularly exposed to soil and animals, with those living in an urban setting. This study clearly shows a difference in their immune responses to stress. The city dwellers showed a greater inflammatory response to stress and took longer to get back to normal than those in rural areas. Clearly, living in a more natural environment has a benefit, and we strongly believe that one important element of this is the presence of mycobacteria agents, including M. aurum.
Our research models are consistent with this and show inflammation markers both in the body periphery as well as important parts of the brain.
In short, our modern lifestyle is hitting us with constant stress triggers, while at the same time moving us further away from the solution that will help us deal with them - environmental mycobacteria, the natural source of natural anxiety, depression and stress relief.