Fear, Anxiety and your Colon




Did you know that there is a deep and direct relationship between your colon and your brain?


The colon is often called your second brain, more intuitive brain and comedian Stephen Colbert once called the gut “the pope of your torso.” I’d have to agree and then agree again. Anxiety, fear, depression, sadness are all words that we can connect with.  They each trigger an immediate emotion that we can feel and almost touch.  Now amplify that 100 times and that is what your gut feels. The “gut feeling” is direct and it knows!

Doing the kind of work that I do, I realise that my understanding of the colon is pretty deep. Truly, I get it. Ask a few of my clients and they will tell you I even give him a “good job” when Mr Colon does what we need him to do, and that’s Let Go! I learn so much from each client that comes in to see me.  Sometimes I learn something new, which is awesome, and sometimes I just get confirmation of something I’ve studied or researched and now I get to experience it live.  I get to help you understand how close the relationship is between gut and brain, gut and arthritis, gut and anxiety, gut and ADHD, the list goes on.

Two years ago at exactly 2.30am for one week straight I woke every night and visited the loo for about 30 minutes. I was eating great food, was with people that I truly love being around, yet nothing would stay down.  My colon was really letting go.  Let’s see, what else was happening at this time in my life, oh yeah, I was getting married in two weeks, a destination wedding where I had people from all over the world flying in and getting all the last minute stuff in order. While I wasn’t necessarily feeling all that stressed, by gut was telling a different story.

We all react differently to stress, fear and anxiety.  Some of us hold on and can’t let it go and others can’t stop letting go.  So how does this work? The study on the relationship between gut and brain is technically not all that new.  Dr. Bernard Jensen and Dr. Harvey Kellogg started making the connections back in the 60’s.  Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD first published her book entitled “GAPS Gut and Psychology Syndrome” in 2004 and researchers from The American Psychological Association published an article in 2012 with further evidence and research on this connection.

“If aliens were to swoop in from outer space and squeeze a human down to see what we’re made of, they would come to the conclusion that cell for cell, we’re mostly bacteria. In fact, single-celled organisms—mostly bacteria—outnumber our own cells 10 to one, and most of them make their home in the gut. The gut, in turn, has evolved a stunningly complex neural network capable of leveraging this bacterial ecosystem for the sake of both physical and psychological well-being,” Dr. Siri Carpenter

Ted Dinan, an avuncular, scholarly psychiatrist from Cork, Ireland, explained one way that bacteria in our gut could alter our behavior. “Many organisms are capable of making neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine; nerves need to communicate with each other, and neurotransmitters serve as the key facilitators of this communication. Many people are familiar with the neurotransmitter serotonin, for instance, because it is targeted by widely used antidepressants, like Prozac. What many don’t realize, however, is that gut bacteria are actually the body’s major producer of serotonin.” Can you believe that? We can produce serotonin in our gut!

Numerous studies have shown that when changing the gut flora with probiotics (good bacteria) behavioral changes are significant.  Migraines are a perfect example of anxiety related illness. I have had several clients lately who have come to me after suffering years of horrible migraines.  The common denominator in all these clients was the presence of Candida. Candida causes misery to millions of people and there is an abundance of literature about candida, so I won’t go into it now, but I will mention that it thrives on sugar and processed carbohydrates.

After a strong dose of probiotics and a few colonic sessions, I’m happy to report that all of my migraine clients have noticed significant changes.

Whilst it is not in my practice to perform colonics on children, I have several parents with children whose behaviour is less than desirable.  Children also get stressed and anxiety ridden, thing is they don’t know how to communicate their stress, so they misbehave. If their diets are good, parenting is done well, and you have done every “super nanny” trick in the book,  let’s see what happens if we give them a probiotic specifically designed for babies and children.  The results have been fantastic.  One client even told me it’s like she has a new child, the child she always dreamed of!

Many of you suffer from IBS, whether diagnosed or not, it is what it is, an irritable bowel.  Irritable = stress, anxiety and fear.

My belief is that the research in this field of study will continue and we will learn more and more scientific facts.  But we do not have to wait for the papers to be published to know and feel and do what is right for us.

That gut feeling? It’s the truth that lies inside of you.

Be Well, Exhale, Nourish and Let Go,


If you would like to read a bit more and get your inner science geek out, here are a few links:


American Psychological Association, “That Gut Feeling”


The New Yorker, “The E-coli Made me do it”


The New Yorker,  “Germs are Us”


Discover Magazine Science for the Curious