Gut and link to brain
Monday 12th November 2018
There has been a growing understanding and exploration by psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors and researchers about the role our gut bacteria plays on our mood—most notably the experience of anxiety.
Anxiety is becoming a staggering trend each year those seeking help.
Women are 60 percent more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than our male counterparts. I am seeing more and more people with anxiety related issues in my clinic.
The symbiotic relationship between our gut health and how we feel is a big topic of current research. Scientists, physicians, and mental health practitioners are increasingly aware of the important relationship between the balance of "microbes in our gut and how we experience our brain, mood and emotions.
From a holistic view point our gut is known as the "second brain" and there are structural/anatomical reasons for this reference.
The "second brain," known scientifically as the enteric nervous system, consists of sheaths of neurons located in the walls of our gut. We refer to these sheaths as the vagus nerve and it runs from our esophagus to our anus, roughly nine meters long.
The vagus nerve contains 100 million neurons, which is more neurons than the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system hold.
There are over 100 trillion bacterial cells contained within the gut.
Our gut sends far more information to our brain than the other way around.
"Leaky Gut Syndrome":
Symptoms and How it Affects the Body
When the delicate balance of bacteria in our gut becomes disturbed we often experience symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other gastrointestinal related disorders.
These symptoms are likely to start out as complaints of bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea.
These symptoms are often indicators of "leaky gut syndrome" where our gut wall becomes permeable and particles of food start to escape from the tight junctions in the digestive tract. This leads to the uncomfortable symptoms of bloating,gas,cramps.
Due to the interconnectedness of our brain and enteric nervous system, via the vagus nerve, our gut bacteria becomes out of balance.
We are then vulnerable to a pattern of emotional discomfort, usually manifesting in episodes of anxiety and depression.
How does our gut bacteria become so unbalanced?
There are many ways,but here are some of the ways that contribute to this pattern of disturbance:
Excessive and unmanaged stress
Bad eating patterns.
High use of antibiotics
Prolonged use of steroids
Intestinal bacterial infections.
High sugar; low fibre diet .
Regular consumption of alcohol
To rebakance your body it is important to seek out help and support from a professional to help to better understand what these symptoms mean for your unique constitution.
Taking the right type of probiotic to help restore balance in the micro flora in your gut is one step.
With more advanced GI issues and more acute anxiety based symptoms ,I suggest eliminating the underlying causes and ,there is a need to first heal the permeability of the gut wall before adding in probiotics.