The Gut - Brain Connection
Did you know that the brain and gut are directly connected? The brain can send signals down to the intestines, and the intestines can send signals back to the brain. The brain and gut are directly connected by the vagus nerve and indirectly connected by chemical messengers that are sent between the gut and brain.
There are over 100 million nerve cells lining the gastrointestinal tract that help control functions such as swallowing, blood flow for nutrient absorption, and gastric enzyme release for food break down. Over 90% of serotonin (the hormone that makes you feel happier, calmer, and more focused) and over 50% of dopamine (the "feel good" hormone) is produced in the gut. The gut is also made up of many viruses, bacteria, and fungi that can be helpful to health; they help stimulate the immune system and produce important vitamins that the body needs. Sometimes there can be an imbalance in gut viruses, bacteria, and fungi, and this can promote disease in the body. These viruses, bacteria, and fungi that live in the gut are referred to as the gut microbiota.
This helps explain the link between digestion and mood. Conditions such as anxiety and depression can cause changes in the gut microbiome, which may lead to symptoms such as bloating, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, and indigestion. Similarly, inflammation and changes in the gut microbiome can affect the brain, which may lead to symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
This understanding helps target new treatment opportunities for mood and gastrointestinal symptoms. Since the gut and the brain communicate with each other, treating one may help the other.
Have you ever struggled with symptoms like:
- Bloating, pain, or discomfort after eating.
- GERD, Heartburn, Indigestion.
- Food Sensitivities.
- IBS (diarrhea, constipation)
- IBD (Crohn's, ulcerative colitis)
- Mental/emotional conditions (anxiety, depression, stress)
- Gastrointestinal infections (parasites, SIBO, bacterial, viral infection)
A deeper investigation into the gut microbiota may help in finding a solution to persisting symptoms. Treatment may include:
- Dietary changes to alter gut microbiota.
- Exercise to promote gut bacteria diversity.
- Antimicrobials and/or probiotics to address gut dysbiosis or infection.
- Managing stress
It is important to work with your healthcare practitioner to appropriately investigate your symptoms and effectively enhance the gut-brain connection in a way that is right for you.
Naturopathic Medicine at Phoenix Physio Clinic
Dr. Sarah Capetola, ND sees a variety of conditions, including: allergies, anxiety, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, depression, fibromyalgia, fertility support, gout, hypertension, high cholesterol, fatty liver, insomnia, immune support, migraines, stress management, chronic UTI and obesity.
It allows you to go back to doing what you love! Make sure you mention this article when you CALL (905) 832-1110 .