There 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.