Could Tummy Troubles Lead to Brain Blow Ups?
The gut-brain connection is a two-way street. When you are mentally or emotionally upset, often that will have a negative impact on the health of your gut. But it works the other way too, with your gut and its state of health affecting how your brain responds and how you feel.
Bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms that make up your body’s microflora outnumber your body’s cells by a staggering 10 to one. This microflora, an ecosystem of its own, has a dramatic impact on your brain function with studies showing that specific healthy bacteria (probiotics) help in decreasing issues like anxiety and depression.
Gut Microbes Impact Your Health
Research has shown that gut bacteria can impact mental health and behavior. It can also have an impact by:
- Training your immune system to distinguish between foreign and potentially dangerous microbes and those your own body produces.
- Altering gene expression. The absence or presence of gut microorganisms during infancy has been shown to alter genes and signaling pathways involved in learning, memory and motor control.
- Controlling glucose tolerance. Research showed that the gut flora of diabetics differed from that of non-diabetics and that type 2 diabetes is associated with changes in the composition of intestinal micro ecosystem.
- Normalizing levels of neurotransmitters responsible for regulating certain brain regions and lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter, is found in highest concentration in the intestines. And a specific probiotic known as Lactobacillus rhamnosus affects GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the brain and nervous system, significantly impacts many physiological and psychological processes.
"Ensuring gut flora is optimized and in the best balance possible, is one of the most important steps anyone can take towards vital living."
The Battle of the Gut Flora
Unfortunately, gut bacteria and its balance of good and bad are vulnerable to choices in diet and lifestyle. Antibiotics, chlorinated water, poor diet, processed dead foods and sugar all compromise your guts ability to do it job properly.
Optimizing Your Gut Health
Whatever a patient’s health concern, ensuring their gut flora is optimized and in the best balance possible, is one of the most important steps in their treatment. Fermented foods are the best path to optimizing gut health, but if a patient is dealing with specific health issues, it may not be enough and taking a high-quality probiotic supplement may be indicated.
Finding the Right Probiotics
Although getting beneficial bacterial from fermented food should be a primary strategy, also consider supplementing it with a product that has a wide spectrum of probiotics, especially if you do not like the taste and texture of fermented foods. Keep these points in mind when looking for the right supplement:
- The strain should be able to survive stomach acid and bile to reach the intestines in the right numbers or with the use of probiotic implants during a colon hydrotherapy session can bypass stomach completely and get to where they are needed fast.
- The strains must be specific, with definite health-promoting features.
- A healthy gut equals a healthy mind (and vice versa). When you take care of that vital microbial system you benefit the whole body, mind and perhaps even the soul.