The Brain–Gut Connection
You’ve probably heard about the brain–body connection, but have you heard about the connection between your brain and your gut?
My hope is that this article will provide you with some interesting information on this subject.
The brain–gut connection is a scientific principle that serves as a link between neurology, the branch of medicine studying disorders of the nervous system, and nutrition, the science of consuming foods that are necessary for our health.
I have a question for you. What does food mean to you? Do you see it as fuel for energy? Is it a means of nutrition for maintaining a healthy body? Or maybe you think of food in terms of just the pleasure you get from consuming it?
Whatever your answer is, the food you choose to take into your body affects both your physical and mental health. You could even view it as a piece of information that tells your body how to maintain your health.
Most people don’t think of food as a source of disease…or, conversely, as a source of healing.
For instance, neuroscience tells us that cognitive problems could be related to a poor diet.
Is a gut really an important factor for mental health? Yes, it is. The gut has another name: “the second human brain.” Why do you think science has chosen to call a part of the digestion system by that name?
Here’s why: Ninety percent of serotonin and dopamine, well known brain neurotransmitters, are produced in the gut—not in the brain.
What’s even more surprising is that 99% of human DNA (the carrier of genetic information) comes from the bacteria in your gut and has nothing to do with your parents.
One of the functions of the vagus nerve, which extends from the brain and passes through several organs all the way to the gut, is controlling food digestion.
The gut is the place in our body where inflammation starts.
Inflammation (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inflammation) is the cause of many diseases, including cognitive impairment (i.e., trouble remembering, learning, concentrating, and making decisions). Inflammation causes heart disease and cancer, as well.
We can say that whatever happens in the gut has a big impact on the brain. The food, and your food choices, are fundamentally important to your overall health.
The science is positive: 50% of all Alzheimer’s disease cases are preventable simply by choosing the right foods. Think about this statement before buying your food at the supermarket or when ordering a meal in a restaurant.
You’ve just learned some important reasons to take your gut more seriously.
If you want to live a healthy life, learn more about your food intake, good/bad bacteria, pro- and pre-biotics, and other information about your gut.
Are you really paying attention to your food intake and to the brain–gut connection? If not, don’t you think it’s time that you do?