The hidden conversation within our bodies..
While medicine continues to view the digestive system as being largely independent of the brain, clinical studies and science now know that these two organs are intricately connected with each other.
Based on in-depth studies, our digestive system proves much more delicate, complex, and powerful than we ever imagined.
These new studies suggest that in close interactions with its resident microbes, the gut can influence our basic emotions, pain sensitivity, behaviour and our social interactions, and even guide many of our decisions. Validating the popular expression “gut based” decision making in neurobiological terms.
The connection is hardwired in the form of anatomical connections between the brain and the gut and facilitated by biological communication signals carried throughout the bloodstream.
Your gut has capabilities that surpass all other organs and even rival your brain. It has its own nervous system, known as the enteric nervous system, or ENS, and also as the “second brain.” The gut and brain are closely linked through bidirectional signalling pathways that include nerves, hormones, and inflammatory molecules.
Rich sensory information generated in the gut reaches the brain, these are referred to as gut sensations, the brain sends signals back to the gut to adjust its function, referred to as gut reactions. The close interactions of these pathways play a crucial role in the generation of emotions and optimal gut function. The two are intricately linked as you are beginning to see now.
The abundant diversity of gut microbes varies over the span of your life. It starts of as low during the first 3 years of life when a stable gut microbiome is being established, then reaches its maximum during adulthood, and decreases again as we age.
The early period of low diversity coincides with the vulnerability for developing neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, anxiety, and other mental health diseases.
The late period of low diversity coincides with the development of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Such low states are risk factors for developing all kinds of other diseases and/or mental health issues.
Gut microbes mediate how food affects our mental well-being and brain functions. In fact, the gut microbiota residing at the interface between our gut and our nervous system are in a key position to link our physical and mental well-being directly to what we eat and drink, and in turn link our feelings and emotions to the processing of our food.
We need to start educating ourselves as to be able to manage our own internal ecosystem, our bodies, minds and emotions/behaviours. To be able to manage our health and wellness, we first need to understand how our brain communicates with our gut and vice versa. We need to understand how our gut microbes influence both of these interactions and the outcomes thereof.
Cancer & MindBody Coach