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Understanding the Mental Health Gut-Brain Connection Postpartum

Empower 2 Heal Podcast Host Dena Tibsherany holding son in front of a fiddle leaf fig for Season 2 Episode 17 "Understanding the gut brain connection postpartum"

The Mental Health Gut-Brain Connection: Healing Your Gut to Heal Your Mind


Let's talk about the mental health gut-brain connection and how healing our gut can heal our mind. Many people even refer to our gut as our second brain.


I want to share my journey with you today, focusing on my maternal mental health. I was in denial for a while about the experiences I had and have been very transparent on this podcast about my struggles with postpartum anxiety, depression, and OCD. I had obsessive-compulsive, intrusive thoughts and didn't want to go down the traditional routes of psychiatric medications. This was a personal choice, and while I believe in the power of psychiatric medications, I felt that path wasn’t for me.



Exploring Functional Medicine for Postpartum Mental Health and the Gut-Brain Connection


Instead, I decided to explore how to heal my body from the inside out, focusing on the mental health gut-brain connection. A friend and colleague referred me to a functional medicine doctor. This doctor taught me about the gut-brain connection, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and how these factors impact mental health. I learned that serotonin, the happy hormone, is largely created in the gut and that my diet was not truly nourishing me.

I underwent comprehensive lab tests, which revealed several deficiencies. I was low in vitamin D, iron, and magnesium, all of which contributed to my postpartum depression and anxiety. By addressing these deficiencies through supplements and dietary changes, I experienced a significant improvement in my mood and overall well-being.

For example, my functional medicine doctor put me on a regimen of vitamin D, iron, and magnesium supplements. She explained that these vitamins and minerals support not just physical health, but mental health as well. I also started incorporating more nutrient-dense foods into my diet, focusing on whole foods and lean proteins while eliminating processed foods.


Through mindful eating and dietary changes, my mental health improved. I learned that our gut truly acts as a second brain, influencing our emotions and mental state. By nourishing our gut, we can support our mental health and overall wellness.



Practical Steps to Improve Gut Health and Strengthen the Gut-Brain Connection


If you feel inspired by what you're learning about the mental health gut-brain connection, I've created a resource library to help you start assessing your gut health today. It includes information on which labs to request from your doctor, how to request your own labs, and doctors you can connect with online to guide you on your journey. Simply click HERE to get started. <3


Remember, your gut is directly connected to your brain. A healthy gut supports a healthy mind. Explore the power of probiotics and prebiotics, and consider incorporating them into your diet to build a healthy gut microbiome. Probiotics can be found in many health food stores and come in formulations for various needs, including postpartum support and mood enhancement.


I hope this conversation was helpful. If you take away anything from this, remember that the mental health gut-brain connection is real and powerful. Healing your gut can transform your mental health. Take care of your body, and your mind will follow.


Join Our Free Support Group

We also invite you to join our free support group for moms. It’s a safe space to share your experiences, gain valuable insights, and connect with other moms who understand what you’re going through. You don’t have to navigate this journey alone – we’re here to support you every step of the way.


Share and Support

If you found this blog post helpful, please share it with your community. Your friends and family might be struggling with the same sleep challenges, and this information could be the support they need. Together, we can create a network of informed and supported parents, making the journey of parenthood a little bit easier for everyone.


*DISCLAIMER: The advice provided is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.


With love,

Dena <3

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