We take a look at the powerful connection between gut microbes and the brain and how our tiny gutsy friends (good bacteria/ microbes found in the gut) can reduce the risk of brain disease and heal and protect your brain for life. The following article is taken from Dr David Perlmutter, bestselling author of Grain Brain.
“When you think of your nervous system, you probably picture your brain and spinal cord. But that’s just the central nervous system. You must also consider your intestinal or enteric nervous system, the one that’s intrinsic to the gastrointestinal tract.
The neurons in the gut are so innumerable that many scientists are now calling the totality of them “the second brain”.You may be surprised to find out that an estimated 80 to 90 percent of the amount of serotonin in your body is manufactured by the nerve cells in your gut. In fact, your gut’s brain makes more serotonin – the master happiness molecule – than the brain in your head does. Many neurologists and psychiatrists are now realizing that this may be one reason why antidepressants are often less effective in treating depression than dietary changes are.
In connecting the dots from the gut to the brain, it helps to consider the body’s general response to stress, both physical (e.g. running from an armed intruder in your house) and mental (e.g. avoiding an argument with your boss). Both scenarios are perceived as stress on the body and so it will flood with natural steroids and adrenaline, and your immune system will release chemical messengers called inflammatory cytokines that send the system into high alert. This works well for episodic moments for duress, but what happens when the body is constantly under stress.
Rarely do we find ourselves constantly running from a burglar, but physical stress also includes encounters with potentially deadly toxins and pathogens. And these we may face daily through our dietary choices alone. Although the body may not necessarily go into fight-or-flight mode with a pounding heart when it meets a substance or ingredient it doesn’t like, it most definitely will experience an immune response. And chronic immune activation and resulting inflammation from such encounters can lead to chronic disease, from heart and brain diseases like parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, depression, and dementia to autoimmune disorders, ulcerative colitis, and cancer…. all manner of disease is rooted in inflammation run amok, and your immune system controls inflammation.
Factors such as antibiotics and other medications, chlorinated water, certain foods, and stress all play a part in determining the diversity and balance of the gut bacteria and, therefore, the set-point of inflammation. Not only do gut microbes influence the environment in your body, but they contribute to that environment by producing certain chemicals that affect the health of the brain and the entire nervous system.
The top 3 ways gut microbes can reduce your risk of brain disease:
- Gut microbes help control inflammation. The balance and diversity of gut bacteria regulates how much inflammation occurs in the body. Healthy levels of a variety of good bacteria limit the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body and in the brain. Inflammation, as you already know, is the basis for degeneration conditions in the human body, including diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Gut microbes bolster the intestinal wall’s integrity and prevent gut permeability. A leaky gut brought on by an imbalance of gut bacteria allows various proteins normally found in the gut to make their way through the gut wall and challenge the immune system. This scenario turns on an immune response that again leads to inflammation.
- Gut microbes produce important chemicals for brain health, including BDNF, various vitamins such as B12, and even neurotransmitters like glutamate and GABA. They also ferment certain food-borne compounds like polyphenols into smaller anti-inflammatories so they can be absorbed into the bloodstream and ultimately protect the brain.”
Based on David Perlmutter’s research on the body reacting to deadly toxins and pathogens, it is vital to ensure the body’s immune system is strong and balanced. Efficient Microbes Probiotics assist in the prevention of the build-up of harmful bacteria caused by stress and will greatly contribute to the health of your gut which directly affects the health of the brain and the entire nervous system.
Click here for more information on Efficient Microbes Probiotics.