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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

The Gut Feeling on Mental Health

Apr 28, 2021 06:22PM ● By Holly Webb

While traditional medicine often looks to the brain as the source of mental health disorders, the true origin may be in the gut. Dr. Mike Smith, owner of Carolinas Natural Health Center, located at 1114 Sam Newell Road., Suite. A, in Matthews, says, "There’s a growing amount of research that links gut health to mental health."

Smith, a naturopathic physician, notes, “The gut is often referred to as the ‘second brain'. Our digestive tract has the highest number of neurons outside of the brain. It is where most of the neurotransmitters are produced that directly affect our mood and mental function. The production of these neurotransmitters are affected by bacteria, viruses and yeast that live in the gut, as well as our diet, stressors, and chemicals in our environment.”

The organisms that live in the gut make up the microbiome. A flourishing microbiome has good bacteria that assist in this gut/brain connection and improves the mental health and overall feeling of wellness. “The overuse of antibiotics and eating the wrong types of foods can knock the microbiome off balance, creating an environment where bad bacteria flourish. We see this all of the time in our practice," says Smith.

Recent research shows that gut nerve cells make 95 percent of serotonin, the "happiness hormone". “There’s this idea that you can ‘heal’ anxiety and depression with prescription drugs, but if your gut nerve cells aren’t making serotonin the way that they should be, you’re simply covering up the problem without healing it. Unless you’re on these prescriptions for life, you’ll be right back to where you started if you don’t address the root cause of the issues,” advises Smith.

Smith’s patients often come to him with complaints that stem from the use of these prescription medications. “I hear complaints like no sex drive, weight gain, lack of energy and more, which are all side effects of anxiety and depression medications. I know there are cases where these medications may be necessary and helpful, but for many people, addressing nutrition, healing the gut, getting adequate sleep and developing a self care routine that includes regular exercise and nutrition can have a quick, lasting impact without side effects.”


To schedule a free discovery call and for more information, call 704-486-2448 or visit

Carolinas Natural Health Center - 1114 Sam Newell Rd Ste A Matthews NC

Carolinas Natural Health Center - 1114 Sam Newell Rd Ste A, Matthews, NC

Michael T. Smith, Naturopath. Providing whole family healthcare. Specializing in classical homeopathy and clinical nutrition. Treating people with conditions ranging from diabetes to ADHD... Read More » 


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