Gut microbes: Circadian Rhythm and Mental Health 

Here’s another fantastic discovery on what gut microbes do – Our biological clock, including the master clock in our brain and local clocks of our organs (liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, etc) are closely linked with our metabolism and nutrient signaling. Our gut microbes act as another clock, helping to streamline changes our body goes through in an entire day. 

For example, diabetics have slower circadian rhythm. People today, do not follow their biological clocks; to sleep, wake up and eat. Typically, in diabetics this would lead to metabolic syndrome and dysfunction that they go through. The imbalance in circadian rhythms and gut dysbiosis (imbalance in gut microbes) have been associated with diabetes, which lead to poor blood sugar control and nerve damage (neuropathy). 

Streamlining your circadian rhythms and improving gut function can impact metabolic health positively. Even intermittent fasting with a 12- or 16-hour protocol will establish a healthy gut. Secondary bile acids are created by gut microbes; while the primary bile acids are made in the liver that aid fat absorption. In a study conducted it was found that the after intermittent fasting good bacteria were impacted while the bad were drowned out. 

There is considerable evidence also linking the gut microbiome regulating sleep and mental states through the gut-brain-axis. Microorganisms and circadian genes can interact with each other. The nature of your gastrointestinal microbiome (gut bacteria) are related to your sleep and circadian rhythm. So, in a nutshell: the gut microbiome and inflammation maybe linked to sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm issues, and metabolic disease (diabetes and its decline). Exploring this area of work, should help us understand mood disorders, depression, and mental health. 

In my line of work – Macrobiotics, one of the cornerstones of the regimen and the pillars that the approach rests itself on is ‘gut health’ via foods in your diet to strengthen gut microbiome. Something that modern diets are just coming to terms with and understanding. Plus in the Indian scenario, with very little emphasis on fermentation and focusing on gut microbiome; Macrobiotics as an approach has always aimed at tackling Non Communicable Diseases (NCD’s) or what we call Lifestyle Disease and reverse them.

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