Gut Bacteria and Brain Chemistry: What’s the Connection?
You know that a healthy gut promotes proper digestion, but that’s not its only responsibility. It also encourages a boosted metabolism and thriving immune system. Additionally, your gut can even influence brain chemistry, according to Michael Gershon, professor and chair of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University.
“The gut can work independently of any control by the brain in your head – it’s functioning as a second brain,” Gershon told Psychology Today. “It’s another independent center of integrate neural activity.”
What’s the Connection?
So what makes this possible? Research from the University of Exeter Medical School and the University of Zaragoza in Spain found that the microorganisms in the gut may be regulating brain chemistry, according to Natural News.
There are 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes of different species living in the gut, often referred to as the gut microbiome. Some of those microbes located in the gut are marked by the protein TLR2, which helps regulate the chemical serotonin – a neurotransmitter that carries signals for the brain but also regulates bowel function. Through TLR2, the researchers believe that some of the gut microbes can impact serotonin levels, which ultimately influences your mood.
Research published in the journal BioEssays also suggests that the microbiome in the gut have an impact on the food decisions we make through the vagus nerve, which connects from the digestive tract to the base of the brain. Athena Aktipis, a researcher involved in the study and student at the University of California San Francisco, shared how the microbiome affects more than digestion:
“Microbes have the capacity to manipulate behavior and mood through altering the neural signals in the vagus nerve, changing taste receptors, producing toxins to make us feel bad, and releasing chemical rewards to make us feel good,” she explained.
This means that by taking proper care of your gut, you’ll notice a positive shift in your mood and sense of taste. What’s the easiest way to ensure this happens? Eliminate the unhealthy foods that are difficult to digest from your diet and replace them with fresh and natural plant-sourced choices.
Fueling a Healthy Gut
Making healthier choices impacts your gut directly. When you fuel your body with mostly raw vegetables and other fiber-rich foods, your gut will react positively, digesting properly and promoting healthy immune and brain function. By following a primarily-raw, plant-based diet like the Hallelujah Diet, you can ensure your gut is fueled for success. Eat more fibrous foods like broccoli, turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, chia seeds and beets to reap the benefits.
Beyond a proper diet, you may consider a supplemental approach. Our Digestive Enzymes, Fiber Cleanse and Professional Strength Probiotics can balance health bacteria through the GI tract and eliminate harmful toxins from the body. If you’re ready to follow you gut instinct and promote a healthy system, shop our supplements today.