The brain-gut connection

The brain-gut connection

If you’ve ever ‘…gone with your gut’ to make a decision, or felt ‘butterflies in your stomach’ when nervous, you’re likely getting signals from an unexpected source: your second brain 아청 법 단순 다운로드. Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this ‘brain in your gut’ is revolutionizing our understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health, and even the way you think.

Unlike the brain in your skull, the brain in your belly can’t generate tricky ‘Excel formulae’ or help you remember where you left your keys, but it does play a central role in whole body communication. The technical name for your belly brain is the enteric nervous system (ENS). It’s technically not in your belly either. It consists of two thin layers of over 100 million nerve cells that line your gastrointestinal tract, all the way from your oesophagus to your rectum.

It’s hard to think that your gut could control how you feel, but once you realise that your gut has the capacity to produce not only the same chemical messengers that your brain does, but also several chemicals that your brain needs, it makes it easier to understand.

Your gut plays host to trillions of different types of good bacteria that make up their own mini ecosystem known as the gut microbiome. Despite what you may have heard, not all bacteria are bad. Good bacteria play a central role in the digestion of food and the absorption of important nutrients. These good gut bacteria also produce hundreds of neurochemicals that the brain uses to regulate basic physiological processes, as well as mental processes such as learning, memory and mood. For example, gut bacteria manufacture about 95% of the body’s supply of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that directly contributes to feelings of happiness.

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When you consider this constant communication between your brain and your gut, its clear that the health of your gut goes a bit further than simply ‘keeping you regular’. A growing body of evidence is showing just how important gut health is to mental health. Studies on animals, for example, have shown that a change in gut health correlates to a change in mental health; a plausible explanation as to why those who suffer from gastrointestinal problems, such as IBS and Crohn’s, are also at higher risk for mood disorders. Notice how when you’re stressed, you suffer from stomach pain or constipation? Same theory.

While research into the complexities of the gut-brain axis is ongoing, something we know with certainty is that a healthy diet results in a healthy gut. If a healthy gut has the possibility of improving mental health, then this is a promising avenue to explore.

How to ensure a healthy gut and provide support to your ‘belly brain’:

  1. Ensure your diet includes the following – they have been shown to improve both gut and brain health
    • Omega 3 fatty acids
    • Fermented foods, such as kefir, yoghurt and sauerkraut
    • Nuts, seeds and fresh vegetables
    • Eggs and cheese – these contain tryptophan, which is converted by the gut into the neurotransmitter serotonin.
  2. Eat less sugar
  3. Avoid unnecessary antibiotics
  4. Drink more water
  5. Exercise regularly
  6. Ensure you get sufficient sleep each night

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