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Constant Fatigue and Sleep Disturbances

Constant Fatigue and Sleep Disturbances

Constant Fatigue and Sleep Disturbances – Gut Bacteria to Blame?

It may seem surprising to you but the quality of your sleep can be affected by your gut health. Yes, it’s true! An increasing number of research studies are pointing this nexus to gut-mind axis.

So far, several studies have already been reported a link between poor sleep, insomnia, sleep apnea and chronic fatigue. In the recent past, a few studies have surprisingly reported a link between unhealthy gut and poor sleep.

Recent studies on Gut-mind connection

A few evidence-based studies have indicated a strong link between gut health and the onset of anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health issues.

Now scientists are becoming more and more curious as they are getting some clues regarding the widespread effect of intestinal microbiome on mood, metabolism, mental and physical health including circulatory, cardiovascular, immunological and neurological health. They are also studying how the gut microbes can play a role in increasing the risk of chronic health conditions in human beings.

In a study done by Swedish and German scientists, only two nights of partial sleep deprivation in healthy participants have revealed the following:

  • A significant decrease in the number of beneficial microbes.
  • Alteration in the make-up of microbes that are linked to type-2 diabetes and obesity.
  • Enormous reduction in insulin sensitivity.

Poor sleep thus impacts insulin and blood sugar levels.

Scientists have gained some insights into the affect of circadian rhythms and microbiota of our body. They have found that, like sleep, even the working ability of our microbiome can suffer due to any sort of disturbance in the normal circadian rhythms. The matter doesn’t end here, the healthy balance of microbiome can also be affected by illness, fatigue, poor diet, stress, chronic illness and excessive use of medications – especially antibiotics.

Sleep Apnea, Blood pressure and Gut Health

There is a strong relationship between significant numbers of gut bacteria, better sleep, excellent cognitive flexibility and overall health and well-being.

Disturbed sleep due to sleep apnea can negatively affect gut health by disrupting the balance of healthy bacteria. Furthermore, gut bacteria themselves play a role in increasing blood pressure is these circumstances.

An emerging piece of evidence clearly suggest that any disruption in the microbiome balance significantly contributes to the metabolic changes which lead to metabolic disorders and obesity.

Stress affects gut health which in turn affect mental health making it worse –a vicious cycle thus triggers off – which eventually affect both the gut and mental health.

Microbiota and Neurotransmitters

Microbiota of the digestive tract produce and release sleep influencing neurotransmitters – such as serotonin, dopamine and GABA. Our brain also produces these neurotransmitters. Certain gut bacteria produce melatonin just like our brain does. Thus, gastrointestinal disturbances can significantly impact your sleep or your ability to sleep well.

The findings published in Microbiome Journal

Scientists, in a recent study, have found a link between chronic fatigue syndrome, intestinal microbiome and Irritable bowel syndrome. Microbiome abnormality could be a secondary factor related to CFS and sleep problems but not actually causing these issues. There could be many factors involved. The research study, which is in its infancy, reported these finding.

There is only a little understanding of what actually makes up an appropriate diet and the link between gut microbiome with illness. The scientists actually don’t know more than what they actually know.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: Intestinal microbiome can regulate your sleep and mental health through the brain and gut route. The research on how gastrointestinal microbiome contribute to mental health issues is gaining increasing popularity nowadays, but it is still in its infancy.

In a nutshell, the following are the findings:

  • Gut microbiota can play a role in the health of the digestive tract and the central nervous system.
  • Gut microbiome can produce or consume neurotransmitters.
  • Microbiome of the human gastrointestinal tract has been associated with several components of disease and health.
  • Neurotransmitter modulation is a likely communication route along the gut-brain-axis

Reference

  1.  Neurotransmitter modulation by the gut microbiota
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6005194/
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