Linking Gut Health to a Number Conscious, Gluten Free Diet

At Carbonaut, there’s a lot of chatter about how number conscious living leads to supermassive health outcomes.

 

We discuss topics such as improving digestion by understanding the difference between sugar, starch, and fibre, enabling your body’s natural fat burning abilities by achieving ketosis, and building smarter meal plans that result in sustainable weight loss goals and reduced risk for metabolic disease.

 

In this article, we’re going to launch the theme of gut health, mood, and how it relates to your number conscious lifestyle.

 

Topics include:

 

    • The enteric nervous system
    • Microbiome balance
    • Brain and gut support
    • Carbs, mood, and mental health
    • Celiac Awareness Month

 

Ready for liftoff? Because it’s all systems go.


The Brain to Gut Axis

 

Say hello to the enteric nervous system. This incredible network of complex neurons is the primitive connection between the gut and brain that is established very early on in prenatal development. It’s one of the three main divisions of the autonomic nervous system, and it governs the function of the gastrointestinal tract1.

 

Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach when you feel nervous? Or been so worried or anxious you’ve felt sick? Or so excited that you can’t eat? The connection between mental process and gut reaction highlights the enteric nervous system pathway—but what does this system have to do with the food you choose to consume?

 

When you don’t take care of your gut health (which is directly affected by the food you eat) your brain is affected—and vice versa. This is why it’s possible to feel nauseous if you’re anxious.

 

Recent peer-reviewed studies have shown that poor gut health can contribute greatly to brain fog and mental health disorders. In fact, “dysbiosis (imbalance of bacterial composition) and inflammation of the gut has been linked to causing several mental illnesses including anxiety and depression2. It’s also been linked to conditions associated with neurodegenerative diseases and cancer3.

 

So, what can you do to ensure your tummy and brain are both happy and healthy?

 

Baby, let’s talk biome…

 

 

Bettering Your Biome

 

Your gut microbiome is a unique ecosystem within your gastrointestinal tract that contains both good and bad bacteria. These bacteria must live in a specific and ideal balance to ensure to the proper working of your gut. Relate this to life on Earth: we require a perfect balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide to breathe here. If that balance is thrown off, the results are catastrophic.

 

Same with your gut biome.

 

There are many reasons why your gut microbiome may be in a state of earthly imbalance:

 

    • Genetic background: genetic factors play a large role in risk for inflammatory bowel diseases related to the gut microbiome4.

 

    • Chronic stress: although completely unavoidable in today’s busy world, stress has been shown to have negative effects on the gastrointestinal tract, which results in poor digestion and nutrient absorption5.

 

    • Underlying infection and inflammation: evidence supports the fact that the gut biome is associated with both the development and progression of different infectious and inflammatory diseases6.

 

    • Antibiotics: antibiotic use (especially when it’s repeated) has been linked to disrupting the bacteria balance in the gut. This includes “reduced species diversity, altered metabolic activity, and the selection of antibiotic-resistant organisms7.”

 

    • Nutritional habits: lack of fibre, too much sugar, too little sleep, and environmental toxins all contribute to an imbalance in gut bacteria. At Carbonaut, our delicious products are full of fibre, low in carbs, and promote healthier eating habits.

 

 

Here is how to improve the balance of your gut biome and create homeostasis for the cosmos:

 

    • Prioritize probiotics: there are thousands of studies that show probiotics to be an effective supplementary treatment for remedying gut imbalance8. Pre and probiotics can also be found naturally in foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha.

 

    • Try intentional and quiet reflection: this planetary practice has been shown to reduce stress and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Since the parasympathetic system works closely with the enteric nervous system9, it’s a win-win.
  •  
    • Increase your exercise: research shows that regular exercise improves the balance of gut microbiota10.
  •  
    • Slash the carbs: unfortunately for carb lovers, recent research has indicated that high carbohydrate intake is linked to changes in gut permeability and microbiota11. And as you already read above, if this balance is off, it can lead to health issues that affect your entire body12.

 

 

High Carb Diets and Mood

 

We now know that our gut health affects our brain and vice versa. We’ve looked at ways to improve gut health to strengthen the enteric nervous system.

 

Now, let’s dive into the effects high carb diets have on our brain. Your gut isn’t the only part of your body that is adversely affected by a high carbohydrate diet: sugar is also known to have negative effects on psychological health13.

 

Here are some ways a high carb diet affects mood:

 

    • Decreased cognitive function: research has found “potential mechanisms of the carbohydrate-cognition relationship include dysregulation in metabolic, inflammatory, and vascular factors14. In other words, high carb equals low brain power. Clear that nebula of fog by making the switch to a number conscious diet!

 

    • Slow digestion: High carbohydrate and excessive sugar intake disrupts the intestinal barrier, which increases gut permeability. This results in profound gut microbiota dysbiosis (imbalance)15.

 

    • Cosmic sleep issues: high carbohydrate meals can result in poor sleep quality. Research has shown that at dinnertime, “a carbohydrate-based high-GI meal resulted in a significant shortening of SOL (sleep onset latency) in healthy sleepers compared with a low-GI meal16.” As we all know, poor sleep can contribute to brain fog and mood fluctuations.

 

If any of the above is sounding familiar, try lowering your carbohydrate intake and review the following Carbonaut articles for assistance on how to achieve a sustainable plan:

 

 

 

 

 

Celiac Disease Awareness Month

 

Celiac disease is very relative to the gut and brain relationship. Because it’s Celiac Awareness Month, we thought this would be a good time to highlight this connection and bring some awareness to a medical condition that is very much tied to food and nutrient absorption, as well as cognitive issues such as brain fog and cognitive impairment.

 

Firstly, what exactly is celiac disease?

 

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease directly related to the inability to properly process and use gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley)17. This affects the small intestine, which is where we absorb most of our nutrients. Because the disease stops your body from proper nutrient absorption, the bearer of this disease essentially becomes malnourished and nutrient deficient. This can lead to a whole host of major health problems and if left untreated, it can be incredibly serious.

 

Here are some signs and symptoms that indicate you may have celiac disease18:

 

    • Diarrhea
    • Fatigue
    • Weight loss
    • Bloating and gas
    • Abdominal pain
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Constipation

 

Other symptoms that have less to do with digestion include19:

 

    • Anemia (iron deficiency)
    • Loss of bone density (osteoporosis)
    • Itchy, blistery skin rash
    • Mouth ulcers
    • Headaches and fatigue
    • Numbness and tingling in the feet and hands
    • Problems with balance
    • Cognitive impairment
    • Joint pain
    • Reduced functioning of the spleen
    • Elevated liver enzymes

 

It is so important to be tested for celiac disease if you think you may have it, and it’s easily treatable by simply abstaining from any foods that contain gluten. For more information, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation and check out their self-assessment tool.

 

Bottom line? By taking care of your gut health, you improve your overall health in stellar ways. Consider making the switch to Carbonaut and slash carbs, not taste!

 

Interested in 6 ways to amp up your classic (gluten free, plant based) BLT? We’re sharing gut friendly options here, to take lunch to the next level!

 

 

Learn more by signing up for our monthly newsletter at the bottom of this page, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for all the number conscious inspiration.

1 Fleming, Mark A 2nd et al. “The Enteric Nervous System and Its Emerging Role as a Therapeutic Target.” Gastroenterology research and practice vol. 2020 8024171. 8 Sep. 2020, doi:10.1155/2020/8024171 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/grp/2020/8024171/
2 Clapp, Megan et al. “Gut microbiota's effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis.” Clinics and practice vol. 7,4 987. 15 Sep. 2017, doi:10.4081/cp.2017.987 https://truecellularformulas.com/blogs/news/trauma-gut-and-nutrition
3 Olvera-Rosales, Laura-Berenice et al. “Impact of the Gut Microbiota Balance on the Health-Disease Relationship: The Importance of Consuming Probiotics and Prebiotics.” Foods (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 10,6 1261. 2 Jun. 2021, doi:10.3390/foods10061261 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8230287/
4 Cohen, Louis J et al. “Genetic Factors and the Intestinal Microbiome Guide Development of Microbe-Based Therapies for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.” Gastroenterology vol. 156,8 (2019): 2174-2189. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2019.03.017 https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(19)33559-0/pdf
5 Konturek, Peter C et al. “Stress and the gut: pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options.” Journal of physiology and pharmacology : an official journal of the Polish Physiological Society vol. 62,6 (2011): 591-9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22314561/
6 Maciel-Fiuza, Miriãn Ferrão et al. “Role of gut microbiota in infectious and inflammatory diseases.” Frontiers in microbiology vol. 14 1098386. 27 Mar. 2023, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2023.1098386 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37051522/
7 Ramirez, Jaime et al. “Antibiotics as Major Disruptors of Gut Microbiota.” Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology vol. 10 572912. 24 Nov. 2020, doi:10.3389/fcimb.2020.572912 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33330122/
8 Olvera-Rosales, Laura-Berenice et al. “Impact of the Gut Microbiota Balance on the Health-Disease Relationship: The Importance of Consuming Probiotics and Prebiotics.” Foods (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 10,6 1261. 2 Jun. 2021, doi:10.3390/foods10061261 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8230287/
9 Pascoe, Michaela C et al. “Mindfulness mediates the physiological markers of stress: Systematic review and meta-analysis.” Journal of psychiatric research vol. 95 (2017): 156-178. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.08.004 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28863392/
10 Boytar, Alexander N et al. “The Effect of Exercise Prescription on the Human Gut Microbiota and Comparison between Clinical and Apparently Healthy Populations: A Systematic Review.” Nutrients vol. 15,6 1534. 22 Mar. 2023, doi:10.3390/nu15061534 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/369465402_The_Effect_of_Exercise_Prescription_on_the_Human_Gut_Microbiota_and_Comparison_between_Clinical_and_Apparently_Healthy_Populations_A_Systematic_Review
11 Zhang, Yanpeng et al. “Effects of High Carbohydrate Diet-Modulated Microbiota on Gut Health in Chinese Perch.” Frontiers in microbiology vol. 11 575102. 15 Sep. 2020, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.575102 https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/microbiology/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.575102/full
12 Zhang, Yu-Jie et al. “Impacts of gut bacteria on human health and diseases.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 16,4 7493-519. 2 Apr. 2015, doi:10.3390/ijms16047493 articles/PMC10351386/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
13 Knüppel, Anika et al. “Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: prospective findings from the Whitehall II study.” Scientific reports vol. 7,1 6287. 27 Jul. 2017, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-05649-7 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-05649-7
14 Hawkins, Misty A W et al. “Carbohydrates and cognitive function.” Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care vol. 21,4 (2018): 302-307. doi:10.1097/MCO.0000000000000471 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325063009_Carbohydrates_and_cognitive_function
15 Arnone, Djésia et al. “Sugars and Gastrointestinal Health.” Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association vol. 20,9 (2022): 1912-1924.e7. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2021.12.011 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34902573/
16 Afaghi, Ahmad et al. “High-glycemic-index carbohydrate meals shorten sleep onset.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 85,2 (2007): 426-30. doi:10.1093/ajcn/85.2.426 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17284739/
17 What is Celiac Disease? Celiac Disease Foundation. Accessed April 18 2024. https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/ https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/
18 Celiac Disease. The Mayo Clinic. Web. Sept. 12 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220
19 Celiac Disease. The Mayo Clinic. Web. Sept. 12 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220