These "Pro's" Can Help You Stress Less

Let's face it. When it comes to everyday living in today's modern world, stress has become a constant companion. Whether it's financial stress, the stress that comes from office politics, or even the stress from driving in heavy traffic, your body is constantly exposed to it - and it's not healthy for you. That's why Scottsdale Personal Trainers know how important it is for you to find different ways to relax. You may have a few methods you already practice. Here's one you may not have heard of yet. Recent research suggests that ingesting "friendly" bacteria could help reduce anxiety. One study, published in the journal Neurogastroenterology and Motility, found that giving a probiotic known as Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 to test subjects with infectious colitis helped reduce their anxious behavior. [1] This is one of many studies discovered by Scottsdale Personal Trainers that is showing us how the stomach can affect the brain, and consequently your mood. In another study, researchers at Ireland's University College Cork gave test subjects a probiotic known as lactobacillus. They found that doing so resulted in reduced anxiety and depression-related behavior. [2] Researchers believe probiotics affect the brain's GABA levels to help create the anxiety-relieving effects (GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that can help you relax and de-stress). They also believe that the primary way your stomach and brain communicate is via the vagus nerve. In the University College Cork study, scientists tested this theory on the test subjects by severing the vagus nerve after giving them probiotics. When the nerve was severed, the test subjects didn't change and still showed anxious and depression-related behavior. When the nerve was intact, the test subjects relaxed after taking the probiotics. Your digestive health plays a very real and important role in maintaining your sense of well-being, lowering your overall stress levels and determining how you feel. Scottsdale Personal Trainers recommend taking probiotics to make sure your intestinal flora are alive and well with the "good guys." Usually, anything fermented is a good source of "friendly" bacteria, including pickles or Natto. Many popular yogurt brands now also contain probiotics - just check the label. Otherwise, you can go to your local health food store and pick up some "good" bacteria supplements. More research still needs to be done, according to Scottsdale Personal Trainers. For instance, science has also recently discovered that your stomach has a "brain" of its own. Your enteric nervous system (the nervous system networked throughout your stomach and intestines) contains some 100 million neurons - more than is found in the spinal cord or in the peripheral nervous system. This second "brain" in your stomach can control digestive behavior independently of the brain, and could also be responsible for changing your mood and alleviating stress. So until we know more, be kind to your stomach, and pay attention to what it's feeling. Try to "listen to your gut" more often. It's smarter than you think, and it can be the key to having peace of mind and staying stress-free! Read more health and fitness articles by Scottsdale Personal Trainers here. References: 1. Bercik P, et al.The anxiolytic effect of Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 involves vagal pathways for gut-brain communication.Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2011 Dec;23(12):1132-9. 2. Bravo JA, et. al. Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 20;108(38):16050-5.

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