What Is The Gut And Brain Connection? Leave a comment

What Is The Gut And Brain Connection?

Written By: Obi Obadike, CIO of Bloomble, Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.

What is the gut and brain connection? The gut and the brain are two organs that are connected biochemically and physically.  There are about 100 billion neurons in the human brain and the gut contains about 500 million neurons. And that is connected to the brain through your nerves in your nervous system.

The vagus nerve is one of the biggest nerves connecting your gut and brain and it does this by sending signals in both directions. The vagus nerve is integral in the gut/brain connection and its role in stress.

What is the gut and brain connection? Photo credit: iStock-newannyart

The gut and brain are connected through chemicals called neurotransmitters.  The neurotransmitters in the brain controls feelings and emotions which is serotonin. And a large portion of serotonin is produced in the gut.

Trillions of microbes that live in your gut also help to make other chemicals that affect how your brain works.  Your gut microbes play an important part in your immune system and inflammation by controlling what is passed in the body and excreted.

The gut and the microbes’ controls inflammation and make different compounds that can affect brain health. Gut bacteria can affect brain health so if you change your gut bacteria it can potentially affect your brain health.

There was a study that found that taking a prebiotic called galactooligosaccharides for three weeks significantly reduced the amount of stress hormone in the body called cortisol.  Probiotics and prebiotics have been known through research studies to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.

Another small study showed that people with IBS, (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and mild anxiety or depression found that taking a probiotic called Bifidobacterium longum for 6 weeks significantly improve their symptoms.

Beyond just taking a probiotic there are other foods you can eat that can help with gut/brain connection and they are:

  • High Fiber Foods such as nuts, seeds, fruits, whole grains which are helpful for good gut bacteria.
  • Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut.
  • Omega 3 fats. These are fats found in oily fish. Research studies in humans and animals have shown that it heightens good bacteria in the gut.

The Bottom Line is the gut and brain are biochemically connected because of the millions of nerves and neurons that are run from the gut to the brain. It is important to understand that changing the bacteria in your gut can potentially affect your brain health.


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