Have you ever had “butterflies in your stomach” when you’re nervous or excited? What about getting that “gut feeling” when something doesn’t feel quite right? These are both example of your gut-brain axis at work!
Communication between the gut and the brain works in both directions (from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain). The connection is through the vagus nerve. To optimize your brain health, it is therefore important to optimize your digestive health. The connection is so strong that, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2001, 50-90% of patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome also have a psychiatric disorder such as anxiety, depression or PTSD. Even head injuries can instigate problems in the gut. For example, a traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as a concussion, can cause severe digestive problems!
"50-90% of patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome also have a psychiatric disorder such as anxiety, depression or PTSD"
If we haven’t convinced you of the connection between these two critical areas of your body, consider that 80% of the serotonin in your body is located in your gut. Not only is it the “happy” neurotransmitter, but it regulates motility (explaining why constipation often accompanies depression). Also, the hormone ghrelin, produced primarily in the gut and most known for stimulating your appetite, also enhances memory and learning!
Symptoms of a gut-brain axis problem
Some signs of a brain that isn’t functioning optimally are:
Difficulty digesting foods
How to support the gut-brain axis
If your brain isn’t functioning well, the rest of you won’t function well either! Here are some basic tips to support your gut-brain axis.
While many factors are not in your control, there’s still a lot you can do to protect your brain from neuro-degeneration. Supporting your gut brain axis is a crucial part of that process!
We want to provide nothing but the highest quality information and advice for our followers to improve their health, which is why at Truehope Canada, we're happy to say our writer is a Certified Life Coach and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.