The Gut Brain Bug Connection

gut bug brain connection microbiome woman with orange slice smile imageThere are 100 million neurons embedded in the wall of the large intestine. Because of this, it is referred to as the second brain.

There are trillions of microbes in the gut that manufacture 95% of the dopamine, serotonin and other brain chemicals and literally control our mood, mind and emotions. The microbiome – or total culture of microbes – of the gut is involved in digesting proteins, carbs, starches and fats, as well as synthesizing vitamins and enzymes critical to our physical and mental health.

Microbes make up 90% of all the cells in the body, carrying a whopping 8 million strands of DNA compared to our human cells, which carry 22,000. According to the latest epigenetic research, these microbial genes are altered by our thoughts and belief systems.

Our thoughts and belief systems have been shown to alter the microbes in the gut, which in turn alter the health of the body.

In one study, infant mice whose mothers were startled by loud noises during pregnancy had fewer Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria than those whose moms were not startled during gestation (1).

In another study, students had fewer Lactobacilli in their guts during the high stress exam week than they did in the stress-free first week of school (1).

One more study demonstrated that when a normal mouse shared a cage with a more “aggressive social disrupter” mouse, the good bacteria in the gut of the first mouse plummeted and the bad bacteria proliferated. This lead to a series of health and immunity issues as a result (1).

Statistically, we live, eat and breathe to support the health of the microbiome in our bodies, which in turn – perhaps as an afterthought – supports our mood, or mind and our body.

 

 

References:
1. www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx

 

 

 


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  • Charlotte Schaldemose Buursink

    Great article, Dr. Douillard – thanks for pin-pointing this important issue that so many people (and even conventional doctors….) don’t know about. Apart from stress control, from an Ayurvedic perspective, what kind of diet can heal a leaky gut? Charlotte (Health Coach from IIN)

  • Amy Mangold Konkoly

    Thank you for this article, Dr. Douillard. I’m interested in knowing more about the Ayurveda theory for healing a leaky gut and more extensive gut issues such as Crohn’s or Colitis. Grain free and specific carbohydrate diets seem to be one recommended way. Eating sauerkraut and other fermented foods is also recommended — but if inflammation in the gut is a pitta issue and fermented foods aggravate pitta, then what’s the Ayurveda solve for this? I’m a IIN graduate