Have you heard about the gut-brain connection? In my work, I emphasize the health of the gut (and have for decades) because – whether your gut is healthy or unhealthy – it affects your entire body inside and out.
The Gut is Far More Than Just Your Digestive System!
Your gut is considered a third branch of your central nervous system, made up of more than 100 million nerves working together to communicate through the nerve pathways to the rest of your body. The enteric nervous system (ENS) is referred to by experts as your body’s “second brain” or the gut-brain connection.
A review released by the University of California confirmed that the gut and brain share a “complex bidirectional communication system that not only ensures the proper maintenance of digestion but is likely to have multiple effects on affect, motivation, and higher cognitive functions, including intuitive decision making.”
For years, I’ve been writing/talking about the guts’ influence on body inflammation, stress, emotional conditions, obesity, and eating disorders. The researchers with UC confirmed each and every one of them!
Understanding the Gut-Brain Connection
Your gut and brain are a single system, working together to keep your body functions operating at peak condition. There are aspects of both – duplicated chemicals, cells, and tissues – in the other. They use the same methods and nerves to communicate.
In fact, your “second brain” has all the same neurotransmitters and just as many neurons as the spinal cord or peripheral nerves. Almost 95% of your body’s serotonin is located in your gut!
Is it any wonder that it affects our moods, actions, and performance?
Negative thinking causes issues in the gut and the mind. Poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, excess alcohol use, and inadequate diet are also felt by both. Your gastrointestinal system becomes irritated and sluggish – and so does your brain.
They are intricately connected and what affects one, rebounds on the other.
A high stress situation immediately clenches your gut and causes an instant pause in the digestive functions to avert resources where they’re needed most.
For a Healthy Brain – You Need a Healthy Gut!
How do you keep this communication system open and running efficiently? The key is knowing what feeds your gut-brain connection properly. Your body is unique and what foods work best for you are specific to you.
The modern diet is massively pro-inflammatory. As a result, your bowel is probably a hotbed of inflammation. This causes a ripple effect of problems affecting systemic health in your organs and tissues.
Literally, if your gut is “on fire,” your entire body is under attack and ripe for damage.
Intestinal fire is the underlying cause of an amazing array of conditions. Allergies, autoimmune disease, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, behavior disorders, and so much more are linked to a part of the body the medical community thought it had all figured out!
The Fascinating Structure of Your Gut Microbiome
Ultimately, your gut health depends on a balance of positive gut flora. These beneficial bacteria eat bad bacteria and keep you healthier than you can imagine. There are also bacteria in your gut that aren’t beneficial.
This environment is known as your gut microbiome.
Good or bad, these bacteria share their genetic material with us. They actually outnumber our standard “human” genes. Where you and I have about 25,000 unique genes, these microbes have more than 10 million!
Now for the truly fascinating part: they are responsible for how you process food, absorb and utilize nutrients, how you flush toxins from your system, your metabolism, and your hormone balance.
They also dictate exactly how your body behaves.
Take a moment to process that information. Those bacteria (good or bad) have the ability to control as much of our bodily functions as your own human DNA.
Discovering “Planet Human”
It sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it? A human with 25,000 unique genes picks up “hitchhikers” that don’t leave. The human body then maintains a symbiotic coexistence with these “simple” organisms that possess millions of unique genes. Those genes are shared with us and influence everything from how our body functions to how we feel!
When you see the big picture, that whole “second brain” thing makes sense!
The gut-brain connection is something that has fascinated me for years. Modern science has only scraped the tip of the iceberg regarding what it means and the impact is has on overall human health.
I wrote a book that encompasses everything we know to date about this underappreciated part of your body. I’ve compiled the most cutting-edge information in Fire in the Belly – an apt name for a situation brewing in the majority of the population.
Learn how you can protect (and nurture) your gut-brain connection right now. Your symbiotic (good) bacteria will thank you. Read Fire in the Belly!