How Your Gut May Affect Your Brain

How Your Gut May Affect Your Brain

Some believe an unhealthy diet compromises the micro-biome community of the body possibly leading to dementia, Alzheimer’s, mood disorders, depression and much more.

When you consume bad food choices, namely processed foods and sugar, studies are showing that you are basically kicking your brain health in the gut, literally. As a result, your decision making and other essential cognitive functions may suffer.

How your gut may affect your brain is another reason to remain healthy or make a healthy turnaround so you can motor into old age keeping your marbles and maybe your sense of humor.

Ground Zero: The Gut

Looks like a few lab rats have finally raised some conventional medicine eyebrows for what has long been known in the traditional medical field; a diet high in fats and sugars is bad for you.

For many years before there were scientific studies many health conscious laypeople and practitioners alike knew that what comes out of our body tells us what our body thinks of it.

So, it makes sense that when researchers looked at the gut micro-biome there was evidence that specific cell and microorganism relationships affected the brain.

An unbalanced gut colony, often the result of a subpar diet, may create systemic upheaval. This upheaval is often caused when the “good” bacteria is taken over by the “bad” bacteria. When this occurs, systemic challenges such as auto-immune responses and structural breakdown such as joint issues may result.

EC Cells

Serotonin is often called the “feel good” brain chemical as it has been linked to behavior, emotions and, when lacking, depression. Yet, it may not all be produced in the brain.

Medical News Today reports,

“Although serotonin is well known as a brain neurotransmitter, it is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract.”

There are three cell categories that have been proven to assist in the production of serotonin via the gut.

They are:

  • Immune cells
  • Nerve cells or neurons
  • Enterochromaffin (EC) cells

It is the EC cells however that, in a study by researchers at Caltech University published in the journal Cell (4/15),  reacted most beneficially.

It turned out that when lab rodents were rendered germ-free in their gut, EC cells seemed ineffective to the point of producing 60% less serotonin. When the germ-free mice were reintroduced to gut bacteria the EC cells immediately began producing serotonin showing that adverse effects of an unbalanced gut (often due to a subpar diet in humans) may be able to be reversed.

Research technician Jessica Yano comments on the study,

“EC cells are rich sources of serotonin in the gut. What we saw in this experiment is that they appear to depend on microbes to make serotonin—or at least a large portion of it,”

Making it Count

Poor food choices may negatively affect your brain when it comes to attempting cognitive decisions during gut microbe induced mood swings. If you do not feel like your brain is firing on all cylinders you could feel, “off” and there may be a chance it is due to your gut imbalance. When you feel off, your judgement could be impaired.

Your gut holds a community of microorganisms surpassing the amount of cells in your body so making them count for keeping you healthy is essential. Avoiding foods high in fat and sugar may help rebalance your gut so you can finally think straight.

Avoid processed foods such as:

  • Cakes, pastries, ice-cream,
  • Chocolate
  • Soft drinks
  • Fried foods
  • Fast foods
  • Trans-fat oils

Replace with foods such as:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Berries
  • Avocado
  • Carrots
  • Miso
  • Tofu
  • A daily probiotic supplement

Talk to your physician and/or naturopathic doctor to determine the health of your micro-biome and how your gut may affect your brain. Sometimes all it takes are a few simple adjustments to change systemic struggles you didn’t even know were there. However, when your body leans closer to homeostasis (stable and constant functioning) it may surprise you how positively it responds.



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