How stress impacts the gut

27 Mar 2020, 10:34AM

Good gut function is imperative for your wellbeing, playing a huge role in physical health and mental health.

But did you know your mental health also affects your gut? It’s all-too-familiar to think about a stressful situation, and have physical symptoms manifest. That knot in your stomach, tightening in your throat, and sweat on your palms is real, and has long term effects.

These symptoms can be caused by the gut-brain connection and exemplify the negative impact of stress on gut function.



When stress activates your “fight or flight” mechanism, digestion is put on hold until the stressor passes. But these days, stressors tend to stick around.  The result is poor nutrient absorption and an altered gut lining.  In a vicious cycle, this then affects our ability to handle stress and causes symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation and heartburn.   


Poor immune function

Roughly 60%-80% of your body’s immunity is housed in your gut. Long-term stress causes your sympathetic nervous system to wipe out a chunk of your gut bacteria, weakening your immune system and reducing nutrient absorption. You then catch every bug going around and are less able to fight them off. 



Anyone who’s predisposed to pimples can tell you that stress = breakouts, well beyond puberty. Poor gut health affects skin regardless of age, with poor nutrient absorption leaving skin less vibrant and more prone to conditions like acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.