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Gut Function for Brain Function

The Mind-Gut Connection

Have you ever had butterflies or a gut feeling in your stomach?


These sensations prove that your mind and gut are connected!


This is known as the gut-brain axis.

The brain that is located in our gut is called the Enteric Nervous system (ENS).



The Vagus nerve runs from the brain-stem to the abdomen, connecting the brain to the gut.


Our gut not only includes different neurons (nerve cells) for reflex actions such as intestinal motion and enzyme secretion, it also produced 30 neurotransmitters (2). 90% of the body’s serotonin (bright and cheery) and 50% of the body’s dopamine (focus and feel good) is produced here (2). Adequate levels of these neurotransmitters ensure proper ability to focus and a bright outlook.


Neurotransmitters are our nerve to nerve communication chemicals. Deficiencies may lead to conditions such as anxiety, depression and loss of focus.


“Anything that affects the gut always affects the brain.”







The ENS can trigger emotional shifts with people experiencing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gut health problems such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and gas (1). For decades, researchers thought that anxiety and depression caused these problems when it may be other way around.


Today’s processed western diet is not only increasing cases of obesity and heart disease, but also having a large impact of mental and physical health (3). Behavioural issues, ADD, ADHD, autism and dyslexia are just some of the issues that our children are facing today.








How to improve your gut-brain function


  1. Diet – reducing sugars, dairy, gluten, food additives and colours.

  2. Exercise – regular exercise promotes gut bacteria diversity.

  3. Medications – limit unnecessary antibiotic use as they also kill good bacteria.

  4. Stress – reducing stress improves your vagus nerve connection to your gut and ensures you get the best result from the food you consume.




References;

1The brain-gut connection (2021) The Brain-Gut Connection | Johns Hopkins Medicine. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connection (Accessed: March 10, 2023).

2 Upton, S. (2023) The Gut Brain Axis & how probiotics help mental alertness, Inner Health. Inner Health. Available at: https://innerhealth.com.au/blogs/gut-health/probiotics-for-students-to-increase-mental-lertness#:~:text=90%25%20of%20the%20body's%20serotonin,the%20gut%20not%20the%20brain.&text=The%20gut%20microbiome%20is%20responsible,in%20the%20process%20of%20learning. (Accessed: March 10, 2023).

3 Western diets (no date) Western Diets - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/western-diets (Accessed: March 10, 2023).


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