GUT BRAIN AXIS
Your gut can help you think too!
Many of us have felt that strong “gut feeling” before taking important decisions or feel “butterflies in stomach” when nervous. Have you ever wondered where these signals are coming from? These signals come from an unexpected source – the second brain.
This second brain called the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) is disguised in the walls of the digestiv e system and is a revolutionary finding. It has millions of neurons and neurotransmitters like that of our brain in the central nervous system. This connection between the two brains is called the gut-brain axis and is going to be central in how we approach health and ailments.
How does it work?
Well, it is a two-way traffic: if we are feeling stressed, it will show up in our digestive processes, also if our gut is acting up, we will not be able to properly focus on anything. A few examples - if you have a fear of public speaking, you may have noticed your stomach acting crazy. Learning capacity may also be affected by the gut microbiome. We know that the first 3 years of life are extremely crucial for brain development. It is also the period when the gut-brain relations are strongly established, although it can be modulated throughout life by eating habits, drugs, stress, etc.
Fun fact – You know we are possibly only 10% human......guess why? As there are about 100 trillion microorganisms reside in our GI tract vs 10 trillion human body cells and if you do the math, we are only 10% human!!
All said and done, how does this impact us?
Behavioral medicinal therapies - There are numerous positive implications of the gut-brain axis which will help to give a different angle for treatments in medicinal science. Few of these therapies can be gut-directed relaxation training, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc.
Correlating Gut and Brain ion – Researchers are linking depression, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s to gut health and digestive disorders like ulcers, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) with brain health. For example- IBS is considered now as a microbiome gut-brain axis disorder. This correlation will help in developing novel drugs for treatment. Healthy gut microbiota = healthy mind.
Happy gut, happy you – Your gut stores 90% of the body’s happy hormone – serotonin. Rightly said – the key to happiness is your gut.
Food for thought - Friendly bacteria (probiotics) may help in improving mental health
You are unique - There is a distinct microbiome of each individual person which controls important metabolic, physiological functions throughout life.
The gut brain axis not only impacts us but is also impacted by us. We need to make sure that we are treating it right by ensuring our wellbeing. For all that we know, in the future the famous slogan might change to – let microbiota be thy medicine!
Palak holds a M.Sc. in Food Science and Nutrition and believes in holistic wellness. Her passion is to benefit the industry by developing food products, maintain food quality standards with appropriate nutrition labeling. A progressive thinker and an able communicator, she has completed her internship with various reputed organizations in the field of food and nutrition.
Ms. Palak Agrawal
Development Associate (Nutrition)