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Gut-Brain Axis: There's a Second Brain in Your Gut

Author: NeuroGym Team | 2021

Have you heard about the gut-brain connection?

How about a gut feeling? We are quite sure you know what that is.

Research has proven that there is a strong connection between the gut and your brain. In fact, what you eat directly affects your brain in many ways.

The Second Brain You Feed Constantly

For decades, scientists have been aware of a second brain located in the digestive system, specifically in the digestive tracts. Unfortunately, that was all they knew for many years.

All of this changed recently when new research found 12 types of neurons to be present in the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS is the brain found inside your gut. The discovery has unlocked new research opportunities to learn more about how the gut-brain functions.

Managing Your Metabolism

Metabolism refers to your body’s ability to transform food into energy for you to use while doing daily activities. Since energy comes from the food you consume, it is already clear that your digestive system has an important metabolic role.

What you eat directly affects your energy levels, and your energy levels determine how much you can do in any given day. If you don’t eat properly, then you can’t perform to the best of your abilities.

Your brain knows this very well which is why it sometimes battles you if you don’t give it the right nutrients. Food isn’t important just for health: It’s necessary for your mental well-being.


Neuron Types

Neurons are present throughout the brain. Each type of neuron (and there are many) has a specific purpose, like for motor function or sensory purposes. Within these, there can be even more subtypes.

Since this is the case in the brain, scientists know the same will happen in the gut-brain. The 12 neuron types found in the ENS are just the foundation. Scientists are now focusing on uncovering the purpose of each of these unique kinds of neurons.

By studying these neurons, scientists will be able to determine the role of each type and how they contribute to our health. They will learn more about the gut-brain and what we should be doing to improve its function.

Isolating the 12 neuron types also allows scientists to understand their genetic makeup. This will help to find new protocols to treat and cure illnesses in the future.

The Brain Is Complex

Your brain is a complex structure that you might not always understand. What you can learn more about is how it functions, and once you have that understanding, you can use your brain much better. Join us at the Weight-Release Training where we explore these concepts in greater detail.

Gut Bacteria and Your Emotions

Your body produces chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that regulate your emotions and mood. These chemicals, and many others, are also produced in the gut, but this production depends on what you consume. An astounding 90% of serotonin, the chemical that regulates your mood, is made in the gut—even though it is used in the brain.

The Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome refers to all the bacteria, fungi, and many other microscopic elements that live in your intestines. These microbes assist with digestion, metabolism, and ensuring you remain healthy.

What you eat impacts the microbiome, as you either feed it with good or bad bacteria. You need a wide variety of foods to ensure that your gut flora remains in balance for it to function properly.


Bacteria Travels

The bacteria in your gut affects what happens in your brain because microbiota manufactures and changes the metabolic process of essential chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters.

These chemicals then travel from the gut to different parts of the body through the circulatory system. Some chemicals are also transported through the vagus nerve which stems from the brain to different organs and finally ends in the stomach. It shows a clear connection between the gut and the brain.

Different Microbes

Thanks to the gut-brain link, your microbiome directly affects your mental health and quality of life. Scientists have even found different gut flora in individuals who are happy than those who are unhappy.

For example, people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have a poor bacteria balance which frequently corresponds with fluctuating emotions. Stress, anxiety, and depression also correlate with the presence of specific microbiota.

The relationship between mental health and gut flora remains a heavily researched topic because the more we know about it, the more we can alter what we consume to improve our health. This is important research since mental health also affects your immune system.

Bring It Together

What you eat affects your emotions, and this has a huge impact on your brain function. Ultimately, it contributes to what you do daily and whether you achieve your goals. Improve your health and performance by attending our Weight-Release Training  and learning the secrets to success.

Getting More From the Gut-Brain Connection

Now that you know that your emotions and brain function depend on what you eat, you have the power to change the situation. You can enhance this connection and exploit it to your advantage instead of letting your emotions take over.

Improving Mental Health

To improve your mental health, you need to take good care of yourself. It means eating healthy, thinking positively, and exercising. All of these things work together to generate the beneficial chemicals that help you to manage stress, anxiety, depression, and similar conditions.

By eating healthier foods, you give your body the necessary nutrients to produce good gut flora that circulates to other parts of your body. This can improve your quality of life, make you happier, and boost your immune system.


Improving Resilience

Resilience describes a person’s ability to bounce back from and overcome challenges in their life in a healthy way. The mental processes necessary for resilience occur in the hippocampus which also uses chemicals from the microbiome.

When inflammation is present in the hippocampus, a person struggles to think clearly, and resilience diminishes resulting in poor mental health. Inflammation frequently comes from the gut and becomes worse if you consume inflammation-producing foods. By eating healthier, good bacteria dominate the gut which allows the brain to function better.

Improve Your Brain Health

Your brain depends on you to maintain it, and this means giving it everything it needs to function properly. One way you can do this is by improving your gut flora. Another way is to rewire your brain, so sign up for our Weight-Release Training and learn all about it.

Eating Better

Your gut bacteria needs your attention!

It may take some time, but you can change the composition of your gut flora by making a few changes to your diet. Here are some guidelines to get you started on this healthier journey.

Add Diversity to Your Diet

Eating a variety of foods ensures your body gets different nutrients that can be metabolized in the gut to create numerous types of bacteria. The assortment of bacteria contributes to a healthy microbiome that produces the chemicals you need for better brain function.

Eat More Plants

Intestinal bacteria growth depends on what you eat. Good bacteria usually come from plant-based foods while animal-based products can result in bad bacteria that fuel inflammation and cholesterol. Add vegetarian foods to every meal and snack on fruits or vegetables during the day.


Boost Your Fiber Intake

Fiber is responsible for many digestive functions and encourages beneficial bacteria to grow faster. Some of the bacteria promoted by fiber reduce inflammation in the body which improves your immune system.

Foods that are rich in fiber include fruits and vegetables like raspberries, apples, bananas, artichokes, spinach, and broccoli. Legumes, beans, and whole grains also contain high amounts of fiber.

Focus On Prebiotics and Probiotics

Foods rich in prebiotics allow good bacteria to grow faster in the gut because they cannot be digested by the body; instead, bacteria use it as fuel. Prebiotics also decrease risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to boost your prebiotic levels.

Probiotics refer to live microorganisms and, in most cases, bacteria. They supplement your gut flora and change it rapidly. Probiotics are mostly found in fermented foods, specifically yogurt.

Help Yourself to Fermented Food

Fermentation changes the sugar in foods by using yeast or bacteria to break it down. When you eat fermented foods, your gut gets a bacteria boost, as these foods already have more beneficial bacteria in them.

Popular fermented foods are sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, kefir, and yogurt. If the label says, “live active cultures,” then it is even better because it’s packed with good bacteria.

Choose Whole Grains

Whole grains consist of fiber and carbohydrates that cannot be digested by your body. Bacteria can then use these carbohydrates to produce faster resulting in a healthier gut. Opt for whole grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice rather than barley and wheat, as the latter options contain gluten that may increase inflammation.

Become the Best Version of Yourself

We want you to do well in life and we’re sure you want that, too! Grab some healthy snacks and join us for our virtual Weight-Release Training where we explore these ideas in greater detail.

About The Author

NeuroGym Team

NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.

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