Digestive Disorders

Gut feelings: How food affects your mood

Uma Naidoo, MD

Contributor

Besides causing inflammation and disease, more heavily processed foods can contribute to depression and anxiety through the connection between the gut and the brain. A healthier diet that favors whole foods over processed foods may offer protection against depression.

Putting a stop to leaky gut

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

In an unhealthy gut, the lining of your intestine weakens, causing bacteria and toxins to leak into the body, triggering inflammation. The most common causes are genes and diet, with age playing a role as well. But diagnosing the condition is challenging, and may require trying different treatment approaches.

Fermented foods for better gut health

Naturally fermented foods have been getting the attention of health experts lately because they may help strengthen your gut biome—the bacteria and microorganisms in your digestive tract. These foods contain beneficial probiotics, live cultures found in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and some pickles.

Digestive enzyme supplements for heartburn?

A digestive enzyme supplement can be helpful for people who have difficulty digesting certain foods, but taking one to treat a condition such as heartburn may or may not provide any relief.

Apple cider vinegar… for heartburn?

There is a lot of anecdotal information about people using apple cider vinegar to treat heartburn, but no published research examining the validity of it.

10 signs that a child’s stomachache could be something serious

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Stomachaches are common in children, and most are not serious, but there are certain signs parents should watch for — especially when other symptoms accompany a stomachache.

Leaky gut: What is it, and what does it mean for you?

Leaky gut occurs when the lining of the intestinal tract develops cracks or holes, setting the stage for tissue damage that leads to inflammation. It’s believed that this may be the cause of a number of common chronic diseases.

Can probiotics help treat depression and anxiety?

Research is exploring the connection between the brain and intestine and how they affect each other, and whether the use of probiotics can help treat depression or anxiety.

H. pylori, a true stomach “bug”: Who should doctors test and treat?

Wynne Armand, MD

Contributing Editor

A stomach infection of H. pylori bacteria can cause ulcers, but not everyone with the infection shows symptoms and the treatment process can be challenging, so only people with certain conditions need to be tested for it.

When a nasty stomach virus strikes…

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

When one person in your household catches a stomach bug, it seems the rest of the household becomes sick almost instantly. This winter has been particularly difficult, which makes it all the more useful to know more: Why does this bug spread so quickly? And how do I prevent it?