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The Brain-Gut Connection: What Does it Really Mean?

Throughout our lives, most of us have all used the phrases "I have a pit in my stomach" or "I have a gut feeling about this." Turns out, the sensation you get in your stomach is no coincidence to what's going on inside your head. The more we learn about our gut microbiome, the clearer it is that it's our "second brain." The microbes in the gut play a very important role in our body and everyday functions including digestion and nutrient absorption. Gut health can directly impact stress, anxiety, depression and cognition. The gut is home to the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) which is shown to have more than a 100 million cells in it's two layers. These cells line the GI tract and help with many functions including controlling blood flow and secretions to aid with digestion and helping us "feel" what is happening inside the gut.

While our gut, AKA the "second brain" doesn't get involved in thought processes such as debate or theological reflection, it does control behavior. Researchers believe that this came about in order to make our digestion more effective by eliminating the step of "directing" our digestion through the spinal cord and into the brain and back. So while our second brain isn't capable of thoughts, it does "talk" to the brain in many ways.

The gut microbiome has a great impact on our mood, causing us to suffer from anxiety and possibly depression when it is off. Healthy gut microflora sends brain signals through pathways that are involved in neuron formation and behavioral control. Inflammation also plays a huge role in how someone thinks, making sense of the connection between depression and inflammatory bowel disease.

Now that we know a little bit about the gun-brain connection, what are some ways that we can improve this connection?

  • 1.Avoid processed foods
  • 2.Consume probiotics
  • 3.Swear off gluten
  • 4.Eat heathy fats/nuts/sesame seeds

The key to improving mental health is by fixing our gut, it will reduce systemic inflammation and improve mental health thanks to the gut-brain connection!

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call our office at (952)-500-8477!

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Friday, 28 January 2022

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