Chronic anxiety and depression, or any other mental or emotional issues, for that matter, are not all in your head. These concerns are almost always the result of organ and systems imbalances—in other words, a systemic illness. Allopathic practitioners rarely think about the gut when mental and emotional symptoms are presented.
For instance, there are three degrees of anxiety: situational anxiety, general anxiety and panic attacks. There are also three degrees of depression: situational depression, clinical depression and major depression. It is the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis that prevents the individual from moving into the more serious second and third degrees of these emotional states.
Four primary causes for anxiety, depression, or other mental issues:
- Poor Gut Health
- Adrenal Imbalances
- Nutrient Depletion
- Inflammation occurring because of 1, 2, and 3
1. Poor Gut Health
Generally speaking there are three basic reasons for a toxic body, and consequently, poor gut health:
- Burden from foreign pathogens
- An unprotected body
- An inefficient detoxification system
These foreign pathogens burden the body and contribute to anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Some examples are:
- Antibiotics and Fungal Growth
- Parasites, Virus, and Bacteria
- Heavy metals, phthalates, parabens, and other chemicals
- Poor dietary intake
Consequently, body burdens of all kinds can lead to a condition called leaky-gut syndrome. The barrier of the small and/or large intestine becomes breached allowing undigested food particles and other toxic substances to leak into the body. This could be referred to as a low-grade sepsis condition—the body is being slowly poisoned. Some signs that you might have leaky gut:
- Inability to properly digest and absorb foods
- Any kind of bowel issues
- Toxic exposures, from a single exposure to slow exposure
- Chronic infections
- Contact with chemicals and radiation
- Chronic negative emotions like anger, guilt, shame, worry, or fear
- Anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, OCD, panic attacks, etc.
2. Adrenal Imbalances
There are two adrenal glands each about the size of a walnut which curve over the top of each kidney. Ad means “on top of” and renal refers to “kidney”. They are an extremely important part of the entire hormonal system. The inner and outer layers of these glands produce hormones that help to maintain homeostasis. They are very small glands but carry out an enormous responsibility.
The outer layer of the adrenals produces cortisol and glucocorticoids which contribute significantly to blood sugar regulation, immune response, and anti-inflammatory actions. Other hormones produced by this outer layer include aldosterone and mineralcorticoids which regulate sodium, potassium, fluid volume, as well as inflammation.
Over the recent years cortisol, a primary adrenal hormone, has been continually disparaged as a “bad” hormone. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Cortisol is critical to life playing the starring role in the body’s stress response. Cortisol does become an issue, however, when it is forced to work overtime and results in imbalanced health, including anxiety and depression.
Over-production of cortisol and other hormones prevents the body from mounting a proper anti-inflammatory response, and interferes with the capacity of the immune system to respond properly. By creating inflammation, these imbalanced hormones affect the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract by breaking down its protective mucosal barrier allowing toxins to circulate throughout the body. So many symptoms of ill health can be directly traced back to adrenal function.
3. Nutrient Depletion
The body must contend with thousands and thousands of different natural physiological and biological chemicals and hormones during stressful episodes. During stressful times, the body has a high demand for magnesium, vitamin C, all the B vitamins, zinc, chromium, sodium, and potassium. These are always the first to be depleted, and in what order depends on the biochemical make-up of the individual. Essential nutrients, like minerals, are depleted by the body allowing an empty space to be filled up by an accumulation of other circulating foreign materials like toxic metals and chemicals. Each mineral in the body is associated with an emotional issue.
Magnesium promotes relaxation, zinc supports stability, chromium prompts flexibility, calcium is protective, potassium provides adaptive energy, and sodium responds for emergency energy. Each of these minerals in their balanced state increases homeostasis and their responses are what I would call calming or anti-aggressive and anti-violent.
As these minerals are depleted day after day and month after month through a poor diet, stress, and other factors—including, but not limited to adrenal burnout—the individual becomes less resilient to life’s challenges and relies on addictive substances and addictive behaviors. In addition to sugar, other types of addictive substances such as caffeine, drugs (either prescription or so-called recreational), tobacco, and alcohol are immediate fixes for the depressed or anxious person who is also in adrenal burnout.
Chemicals from these substances provide a temporary high from the low physical and emotional states, but are dangerous in the long run. It is important to realize that all of the above symptoms are related to a severe energy deficit, and many of these behaviors represent various adaptations to that depletion. That is, the person is compensating for a lack of energy by changing behavior. An individual may be attracted to various stimulants and calming agents to relieve depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, this sense of feeling alive and well is short-lived.
Inflammation is a critical piece of the puzzle when supporting the body to overcome anxiety, depression, and fatigue. So-called mental and emotional issues could be referred to as a “silent” inflammation of the brain. If you’ve ever seen someone with the “loud” inflammatory pain of arthritis, or you, yourself, have experienced a severe muscle strain or tendonitis, that is the kind of inflammation your brain is experiencing due to overactive immune stimulation in a valiant attempt to protect itself.
If important alkaline minerals like magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium are deficient, acid will increase and inflammation will rage. The inflammatory process can affect any part of the body—digestive tract (leaky gut syndrome), joints, muscles, brain, etc. These calming nutrients and other amino acids are necessary for proper brain function contributing to balanced neurotransmitters that help to alleviate anxiety, depression, and so-called bi-polar issues. Persons who are deficient in these important nutrients will be depressed, anxious, and unable to sleep well, and also experience other gut-brain associated issues.