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< Back to Digestive Health

Holiday Stress and the Gut Connection

According to Statistics Canada, 23 percent of people over the age of 15, report that most days are “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful, and that number rises to 30 per cent among the 35 to 54 age group.[1] I can’t think of many people who don’t experience some sort of stress in their life. Whether it’s from work, finances, family, health or other causes, stress has a big impact on our health and can play a role in the development of symptoms contributing to disease.


Our gut is home to the enteric nervous system which contains 100 million nerve cells which line the GI tract and communicates with your brain. Although serotonin is well known as a brain neurotransmitter, it is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract. In fact, altered levels of this peripheral serotonin have been linked to diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Research at Caltech, published in the April 2015 issue of the journal Cell, shows that certain bacteria in the gut are important for the production of peripheral serotonin, the happy hormone that contributes to wellbeing and happiness.[2] So whether we feel anxious, sad, or depressed, it may actually be coming from our gut and not our head.


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 help reduce gastrointestinal discomfort in those experiencing mild to moderate stress resulting from life events, and helps moderate feelings of anxiety. It is formulated to not only support good digestive health but it also contains the clinically studied probiotics Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 to help moderate feelings of anxiety and reduce gastrointestinal discomfort related to mild to moderate stress. This formula includes 6 unique probiotic strains which provide 30 billion active cultures in a convenient once a day dose.


But maybe it’s your immune system that’s suffering. We all get run down from time to time and our immune systems get compromised by factors such as stress, poor diet and not enough sleep. What makes one person catch something and another person avoid it altogether? While lifestyle plays an important factor, it could also be based on the health of the gut. The human body contains trillions of tiny microscopic bacteria that are an essential part of our immune system. In fact, the gastrointestinal tract is home to the largest concentration and highest diversity of bacteria in the body. The GI tract contains the greatest amount of lymphoid tissue in the body, and it’s this lymphoid tissue that is responsible for synchronizing the defense strategies between the innate and adaptive immune systems.[3] Understanding this helps us to appreciate why good gut health is important for good immune health.


Defend from within with Renew Life® Ultimate Flora® Probiotic Plus Immune Support. It’s formulated to not only support good digestive health, but it contains the clinically studied probiotic strain Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071 which showed a reduction in the incidence of cold-like symptoms in stressed adults. It also includes 4 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. 70% of your immune system is in your gut; make sure yours is up for it!


[1] Global News. (2018). This is the state of stress in 2018. Available: Last accessed 18 Oct 19.

[2] Stoller-Conrad, J. (2015). Microbes Help Produce Serotonin in Gut. Available: Last accessed 18 Oct 19.

[3] California Institute of Technology. (2013). A home for the microbiome: Biologists identify how beneficial bacteria reside and thrive in gastrointestinal tract. Available: Last accessed 12 April 2018.




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