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Mental Health & the Microbiome with Valérie Espinasse

The key to happiness just might be inside your stomach. Here’s the catch: not everyone has the same key.

The key to happiness just might be inside your stomach. Here’s the catch: not everyone has the same key.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition. As such, micronutritionist Valérie Espinasseworks individually with each of her clients to develop tailored nutritional programs. The holistic, head-to-toe process includes intolerance testing, detox benefits, and body treatments. The result? A food regimen made just for you. Gut health is deeply interconnected with immunity, mental wellness, skin health and overall well-being, but this doesn’t mean the same food will help everyone.

Earlier this year, Valérie added author to her list of many titles when she published Les secrets de l’équilibre féminin. Exploring hormonal imbalances and ailments exclusive to women throughout their lifetimes, the book offers micronutrition as the solution. Instead of medication, Valérie prescribes herbal medicine, vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary adjustments.

When Valérie sat down with BWB earlier this year, we micro-focused on her own nutritional journey and career path. Read below to learn more about navigating the microbiome and understanding mental illness from our resident expert.

World Microbiome Day started in 2018. Can you tell us more about what exactly the microbiome is?

The microbiome is the genetic background of human microbiota. Mainly, the intestinal microbiota, which is formed by communities of micro-organisms: Bacteria, yeast, enzymes, and so forth.

Is there a link between our intestinal bacteria and our well-being?

Our intestinal bacteria play many different roles. For example, they release essential nutrients like vitamin B and some fatty acids. Both are crucial for stress regulation. Moreover, our intestinal microbiota regulates the secretion of intestinal neuromediators. These neuromediators are identical to those produced by the brain. Consequently, they have a direct effect on our energy levels, concentration, mood and sleep.

Can our microbiota trigger depression? Can probiotics help fight depression?

It would be more accurate to talk about depressions, plural. This is exactly why it is so difficult to generalize. In any case, a drop in serotonin levels is commonly associated with biological disorders. Among them are depression, brain fog, etc.

What kind of diet do you recommend to maintain a healthy intestinal balance?

I recommend a diet based on fresh produce and in-season produce, as little processed foods as possible, and no soda drinks!

What types of foods do we need to consume the least, or all together ban, for those of us who suffer from depression?

It depends, but it is important to avoid the foods we have an intolerance for. A blood test can help you find out what those foods are.

What advice do you have for someone who has an unhealthy relationship with food?

First, try to take pleasure in cooking in order to enjoy eating! As far as micronutrition is concerned, natural marine magnesium provides emotional stability. This can also be combined with microbiotics to restore the intestinal microbiota.

What are your own nutritional MVPs? Foods that make you feel good and also taste good?

Lemon juice in the morning and green tea. Additionally, vegetables at every meal and oil seed-based products.

Teresa Deely

Teresa Deely is a graduate from Columbia University with majors in English and Creative Writing. She is a freelance writer and marketing assistant working for clients in the wellness, jewelry, creative, and sports industries. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. Spending much of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.

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