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< Back to Digestive Health
Follow Your Gut

Follow Your Gut

2020 was certainly quite a year. It would be difficult to find anyone who didn’t experience stress from the past year’s world events. Whether it was due to work, finances, family, health or other causes, stress had a significant impact on our lives. Managing stress is important to our overall health, and it can involve multiple things; from doing yoga and meditation, to getting enough sleep, to eating healthy, exercising, turning off the TV and social media or taking a probiotic designed to help moderate feelings of anxiety.

Stress has been recognized as a causative factor in as much as 90% of all illnesses and diseases, including cancer and heart disease. The way it does this is by triggering chemical reactions and flooding the body with cortisol that, among other things, decreases inflammation (cortisol functions to reduce inflammation in the body, which is good, but over time, also suppresses the immune system). Cortisol also decreases white blood cells and NK cells (special cells that kill cancer), increases tumour development and growth, and increases the rate of infection and tissue damage.[1]

Sustained or chronic stress also leads to reduced serotonin, the happy hormone that contributes to wellness and happiness. This is where good gut health can help, because 90% of the body’s serotonin is actually made in the digestive tract.[2] Your gut is home to the enteric nervous system, which contains 100 million nerve cells that line the gastrointestinal tract and communicate with your brain. Altered levels of peripheral serotonin have been linked to diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Research at Caltech, published in 2015, shows that certain bacteria in the gut are essential for the production of peripheral serotonin.[3]

For most people, one of the first signs of stress is gastrointestinal discomfort, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and loose stools. Renew Life® Ultimate Flora® Probiotic Plus Mood & Stress is formulated to not only support good digestive health, but it contains two clinically studied probiotic strains, Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175, to help moderate feelings of anxiety and helps to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort related to mild to moderate stress, resulting from life events. It also includes four other beneficial strains to provide 30 billion active cultures in a convenient one-a-day dose, so there is no need to take another probiotic supplement.

According to Dr. Andrew Goliszek, Ph.D. “Mind over matter is not simply a catchphrase. It is a truth based on what we know to be fact: that the brain, given the right set of directions, the right environment, and the proper stimuli, will always choose healing over disease.”[4]  So do yourself a favour and turn off the TV and social media that are full of fear and negativity. Try calming activities such as: meditation, yoga, deep breathing, knitting or crocheting, going for a walk, hugging a tree, watching a funny movie, reading a good book and other activities to help ease your stress, your body will thank you for it.

[1] Goliszek, A. (2014). How Stress Affects the Immune System. Available: Last accessed 26 Nov 20.
[2] Paddock, C. (2015). Gut microbes important for serotonin production. Available: Last accessed 26 Nov 20.
[3] Stoller-Conrad, J. (2015). Microbes Help Produce Serotonin in Gut. Available: Last accessed 18 Oct 19.
[4] Goliszek, A. (2014). How Stress Affects the Immune System. Available: Last accessed 26 Nov 20.
Related Products: Renew Life Ultimate Flora<sup>®</sup> Probiotic Plus Mood & Stress

About the Author: Caroline Farquhar R.H.N., E.M.P., B.A.

Caroline Farquhar

Specializing in digestive care and cleansing, Caroline has been educating audiences through seminars, TV and radio appearances across the country on the topic of how to achieve better health naturally. Caroline has written and published articles for magazines and websites, has created educational programs and taught at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Learn more about Caroline at