If you thought matters of love are all about heart, think again. A recent study by the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (the US) linked daily marital distress to leaky gut. This releases bacteria in the blood, which can aggravate disease-causing inflammation. Experts tell us that emotional distress, regardless of the source, can affect the whole body.

“Generalised inflammatory state in the body causes a number of ailments such as heart disease, diabetes and liver issues too. And stress is a known trigger for such diseases. Stress causes alteration in the bowel flora and also leads to other gut issues. Because of the brain-gut axis, the chemical signals from the brain can affect the motility of your gastrointestinal tract.

For example, when someone is anxious, they tend to pass motion often. This isn’t just a psychological problem; the signals from the brain affect the functioning of the intestine. The central nervous system of the brain and the enteric nervous system, which are the neurons in the intestines, are interconnected. Recent nascent studies also reveal that the bacteria in a person with psychological issues such as anxiety and depression is different from that of a healthy person,” says Dr Amit Gupte, gastroenterologist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central. Gupte adds that in most cases, gut-related issues are either diet related or stress related and there is an overlap between these two.

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Vijay Nanda

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