Recently I did a master class called the Gut-Brain Solution. I highly recommend it. You can find a link to take part in the masterclass HERE. But if you don’t have time for that, I have written a 3 blog summary on the gut-brain connection that might interest you here.
We all know that there is a connection between how we think or feel and our gut. When we are scared or excited, we say we have “butterflies” in our stomach. We describe our mental or emotional anguish as “gut-wrenching”; or a gory image might make us ‘sick in the stomach’, and a person who overcomes fear is someone “with guts”. What we might not realise is that the relationship goes the other way too. Not only do our emotions and thoughts make our gut react in certain ways, but what happens in our gut can have a great effect on our brain, mind, and emotions.
Science is now showing that anxiety, depression, and brain fog can actually be caused by an imbalance in our gut. It follows then, that what we eat can also have an impact on our brain health. Isn’t it interesting that Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, claimed that “all disease begins in the gut.” What a very wise man. Science is only now beginning to catch up with what he perceived so long ago.
All disease begins in the gut.
Anxiety and depression are at all-time high levels in the West, despite most of us living in a very privileged society and era in history. The increase could very well be related to our depleted soils, environmental toxins, drug-taking, and fast-food diets. This gives us hope because these things can be changed relatively easily with amazing results.
Before we talk about the connection between the gut and brain it is important to know what I mean by the gut. The gut is the gastro-intestinal tract – the tube from your mouth to your anus and all the digestive organs as well. What we are particularly interested in is the gut microbiome – which is all the bacteria, fungi, archaea, viruses, and even parasites that live in our gut. You may have grown up thinking that all these things are bad, but the truth is that we wouldn’t survive without our microbiome. Our microbiome:
- Is critically important to our digestion
- Is connected to our immune system
- Balances our hormones
- Regulates our metabolism
- Affects our brain health
- Affects the expression of our genetics
While we have around 22-24 thousand human genes, we have 2.5-3 million microbial genes in our system and it is these microbial genetics that accounts for more than 90% of all our biochemical functions in our body. WOW! Doesn’t that just blow you away! No wonder our microbiome is important.
The problem is in our western world we are doing everything we can to harm our microbiome. As a result, the good bacteria (probiotics) that have a central role in protecting the gut barrier and working to ensure that the gut lining stays intact are decimated and we can end up with a “leaky gut”. This is when holes form in our gut lining and substances that were only meant to move through the digestive system, end up in our blood, causing inflammation, allergies, food sensitivities, and a “leaky brain”. I am going to talk more about this in the next blog.
Some of the biggest contributors to an unhealthy gut and microbiome are sugar, gluten, dairy, excessive use of antibiotics and antiseptics, preservatives, lack of fibre and stress. This is why doing a program like “Eat To Thrive” can not only help you to lose unwanted weight but ultimately help you heal your microbiome; discover foods that make your body and brain sing; and help you live a thriving life.