What is the connection between the gut and brain? We are born with a very intricate map of perfectly balanced amounts of bacteria, yeast and parasites that control our immune system, brain and gut function. Over time, different factors influence this which then alters the relationship between our immune system and the environment around us. This means the pesticides and pollutants we ingest, the products we use on our skin and of course, the food we eat.
We know that this system of microbes plays a huge role in mental health. The vagus nerve connects the enteric nervous system (the gut) and the central nervous system (the brain). The vagus nerve is arguably the most important nerve in the body. The two systems are in constant communication via neurotransmitters. One of the main communicators is serotonin which is a neurochemical that regulates mood and well-being in the brain and acts as a digestive pathway and immune system regulator in the gut. Like anything in the body, this communication can be altered based on its environment.
Multiple diseases associated with the gut are affected by the brain gut connection.
Many chronic and autoimmune diseases can be prevented by improving gut health because of this crucial communication system between the brain and the gut.
Chronic infections can fly under the radar for months and even years before being detected when the immune system is operating on all cylinders. It is not until the immune system “crashes” that we begin to notice more severe symptoms.
Many of my patients suffer from:
- Epstein Barr Virus
- Lyme disease
- and more
These clients are able to lessen symptoms after they work on healing the gut. Understanding this connection can help build a happier and healthier mind and body.
This can feel very overwhelming- so where do we begin?
A great place to start is with testing! Each of us are so uniquely individual and it is important to get a deeper understanding of what is going on in the intestines. There are many tests available, including:
- GI MAP
Tests like these allow for deeper analysis of the types of bacteria, yeast, possible malabsorption issues, and dysbiosis.