Too much stress over prolonged periods of time takes its toll, affecting our memory, immune health, skin and sleep. More often than not though, the gut is the first system to show the impact of a stressful life.
This is because the gut and the nervous system are in constant communication via the gut-brain axis, linking emotional and cognitive interactions with the intestinal functions. How the nervous system and the gut talk is greatly impacted by the gut bacteria: a compromised gut microbiota can contribute to stress and anxiety. But equally, stress and anxiety can increase the response to inflammation, compromising the gut microbiota, which may impact the integrity of the intestinal barrier.