You know, in the morning I usually bring my wife coffee and, usually, I’m up a lot earlier, after my deep dive and researching and things. And of course, I always bring up some interesting conversations when she’s sort of half asleep. So this morning I came in there and I said, Hey Karen, have you ever pondered this idea on the relationship between someone’s breath and their microbial diversity? Of course, she just gives me that look like what? And then I proceeded to talk about, is it the microbial imbalance that can alter someone’s mood? Or is it the mood that can affect the microbiome? And her response was I need more coffee. So anyway, hopefully, you’re awake today and I can talk to you about this, but the relationship between your mood and your microbiome is very, very interesting.
Your mood and your microbiome
If you are in a kind of a state of anxiety, chronic stress, worry or depression, your microbiome greatly changes, okay. And your breath changes as well. And this is why when someone’s chronically stressed, um, their breath can become pretty nasty when someone is in a depressed state chronically, they can develop halitosis. Even the pathogenic microbes that give off that sulfur smell are increased when you’re in that state. And a lot of the protective friendly bacteria are diminished.
Some of these, are even at risk for periodontal infections and disease when they’re under chronic stress. But typically when someone is stressed or has anxiety or some, even a panic attack, their breath changes dramatically. And on the flip side of that, when someone takes an antibiotic or an antifungal and they wipe out their microbial population that can dramatically affect their mood and their breath because you’re altering these microbial communities.
So this is why one of the big side effects from an antibiotic is an overgrowth of yeast in your mouth, like thrush that gives off kind of a bad odor. And if you look at some of the side effects from antibiotics, you could have psychosis, major depression, anxiety, and even panic attacks.
Why does your microbiome affect your mood and vice versa?
Now, as far as one reason, for this physical reason, we have this spike in cortisol. When we go through panic attacks, when we go through chronic stress, we have, or worry, we have this spike in cortisol, cortisol greatly suppresses the diversity and the different types of species of microbes that you have. And it basically paralyzes your immune system, of which your microbes are a big, big part. This is why the chronic elevation of cortisol can affect your breath because it destroys the microbes.
I mean, if you could think about when someone cries, for example, it affects their entire physiology. And the same thing happens when someone is actually in a chronic state of depression. So brushing your teeth or using perfumes or breath, mints are not going to work unless you handled the source of depression or handled the source of anxiety or worry. But on the flip side, if you had an antibiotic that affect your mood, you have to reestablish this microbial life. But one thing you have to realize, and this is something new for a lot of people is you don’t just have strains of bacteria.
You have a complex group of friendly bacteria, friendly, yeast, and friendly fungus, and they all work together very similarly to the microbes in the soil. Like when you’re gardening, you need the right ratios of bacteria to the fungal population. If you’re too heavy in the bacteria and not enough fungus, you’re not going to have the mobilization of the nutrients. And so we don’t want too much of one population. We want the correct ratio of fungus to bacteria. The same thing in your gut, you should start eating foods that are fermented, for example, that have healthy yeast, as well as bacteria, like a Keifer, like sauerkraut, things like that. So you have the microbiome, okay? That’s all the friendly microbes, but you also have the Miko biome.
That’s the M Y C O biome. That is the population of friendly Funguses in your body. So we need both. And so when you take an antibiotic and you kill off your microbes, and then you get a yeast infection, it’s because these yeast and fungus now become competitive. They no longer are friendly. I want to just increase your awareness that your mood can affect your microbes and your microbes can also affect your mood. And you want to identify what is the real cause of that. And you can use your breath as an indicator of what’s happening to your micros, because the quality of your breath is directly related to mainly your balance of the right microbes.
What to do for anxiety and depression?
I know I’ve done a lot of posts on chronic stress and depression, and there can be some, nutritional reasons for that. Like vitamin D is the best nutrient for depression and vitamin B. One is the best antidote for anxiety. So you might want to try that, but also just being out in the sun, being out in nature, getting more space, changing your environment is so, so, so important versus being stuck in the house, watching the news all day, very, very bad to keep your mood up.
Now, as far as exercise goes, if you compare physical work outside to going to a gym on a treadmill, the physical workout side is going to be hands down way better as a therapy, because it gets your mind off the stress way more than being on a treadmill, especially when you’re watching the news on the treadmill. But I do want to say one of the best exercises that I found, for mental stress is indoor rock climbing.
Boy, there’s nothing better than doing rock climbing just to extract you from your stress. but you can do the same thing with, hiking outside. And there are many exercises that will help now.
Of course, your diet is something that I would really focus on because if you’re not on the right eating plan, and if you’re doing too many carbs and you’re not doing the keto or not doing it, I’m in fasting, especially boy, that’s going to keep you in a lowered mood for sure. But just implementing intermittent fasting has a dramatic effect on cognitive function. It’ll bring you out of anxiety and put you in a great state of mind.