Apparently, the old saying, “Go with your gut,” isn’t just a time-honored idiom after all. In fact, there is some truth behind the phrase! As scientific research increasingly indicates over and over again, your gut and your mind are intimately connected.
Current research suggests that the gut acts as a “second brain.” Hidden within the walls of the digestive system, there is a stunning assortment of nerve endings, a unique system of nervous function that is quite similar to the brain. Much of the research is still forthcoming, but scientists are beginning to understand that there is a link between digestion, mood, health, and even how people think.
The Enteric Nervous System – Your “Second Brain”
The “Second Brain” in your gut is called the Enteric Nervous System. Abbreviated “ENS,” this system comprises two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells that line your gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to the rectum.
Quoting Dr. Jay Pasricha, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology and a leading expert on gut health and its connection to the mind, “Its main role (the ENS) is controlling digestion, from swallowing to the release of enzymes that break down food to the control of blood flow that helps with nutrient absorption to elimination. The enteric nervous system doesn’t seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain—with profound results. Our two brains talk to each other, so therapies that help one may help the other. This involves interactions between nerve signals, gut hormones and microbiota—the bacteria that live in the digestive system.”
To put it simply, the digestive system is a panoply of complex nerve endings and communication pathways. This could explain why certain foods make us “feel good” when we eat them, and some don’t. Furthermore, the strong presence of nerves and the clear connection between the Enteric Nervous System and the Central Nervous System could explain why so many gut health issues are directly connected to mental and emotional health.
Do You Lack Focus and Mental Clarity?
Some of the shared side effects of gastrointestinal conditions (like irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and an upset stomach) include emotional shifts, anxiety, depression, lack of focus, and lack of mental clarity. Again quoting Dr. Pasricha, “For decades, researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to these problems. But our studies and others show that it may also be the other way around. Researchers are finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes. These new findings may explain why a higher-than-normal percentage of people with IBS and functional bowel problems develop depression and anxiety. That’s important, because up to 30 to 40 percent of the population has functional bowel problems at some point.”
Understanding the connection between our gut health and our mental health, cognitive clarity, and memory is crucial.
Thankfully, there is an easy solution that does not involve taking mind-altering psychoactive drugs. Since your gut plays a role in your mood, memory, and clarity, and since the type of nutrients you put in your gut has a strong influence on the gut, would it be possible that your diet could also play a prominent role in gut health and mental health?
Is Your Memory Leaning Towards Forgetfulness? What Can You Do About It?
In an article titled “The Gut Microbiome and Brain Health,” published by the University of Washington Medicine Memory & Brain Wellness Center, author Genevieve Wanucha writes, “While the digestive tract and the brain feel far apart in your body, they are actually connected via a 24/7 direct line of biochemical communication, set up by special nerve cells and immune pathways. It’s called the gut-brain axis. Down in the gut, bacteria make neuroactive compounds, including 90% of our neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulate our emotions. A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. Shifts in the composition or function of the microbiome have been implicated in inflammatory bowel disease, autism, and blood cancers. Researchers are now discovering that a disrupted microbiome, in certain contexts, may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions that cause dementia.”
Because of the gut microbiome’s neuroactive nature, it’s important to give the gut what it needs to be healthy and function well. That means reducing the acidity of the gut (alkalizing the gut). It means feeding the gut prebiotics, nutrients, fiber, and other healthful material.
To assist you in achieving optimum gut health, Immune Solution has created several nutritional supplements and health products that can help improve gut health naturally:
- Raw Organic Kamut Wheatgrass. A crucial nutrient in boosting natural gut function, Immune Solution’s Raw Organic Kamut Wheatgrass helps digestion by adding enzymes to the ENS. The all-natural wheatgrass also acts as a prebiotic (it feeds the good gut bacteria in the ENS). Organic Kamut Wheatgrass acts as an anti-inflammatory and alkalizes the body by neutralizing an overly acidic gastrointestinal tract. Organic Kamut Wheatgrass supports healthy digestive function, acting as an organic, all-natural supplement for good gut health.
- Organic Broccoli Extract. Organic Broccoli Seed Extract is a potent antioxidant, a necessary nutrient for protecting the gastrointestinal tract from inflammation, oxidative stress, and carcinogens. In the gut microbiome, Organic Broccoli Seed Extract boosts the local defense mechanism, effectively protecting the gut from harmful invaders so that the gut can perform its important functions. The extract does this by being rich in glucoraphanin (which produces sulforaphane during digestion). Once digested, glucoraphanin can work to destroy cancerous compounds and free radicals.
- Shilajit. Shilajit contains 85 naturally ionic minerals vital for maintaining energy metabolism in the body. Shilajit assists in the digestion of food and nutrients, helping the gut process energy received from digested food. Shilajit transports essential minerals across cell walls and into cells, providing an energy boost and boosting the metabolic process. All of these effects assist the gut in performing its necessary functions. Immune Solution sources its Shilajit from a remote, high altitude region of India’s Himalayan mountains. An ancient Ayurvedic medicine well-known to the locals, the Shilajit is brought down from the mountains and shipped to our U.S. office. We do not alter, process, or add any fillers or artificial additives to the Shilajit. This is 100% pure Shilajit in every bottle.
Care for Your Gut, Care for Your Mind
In conclusion, the words of Dr. William Depaolo, a University of Washington Medicine gastroenterologist and director of the University of Washington Center for Microbiome Sciences & Therapeutics, seem particularly relevant here. “The role of the microbiome in health and disease is an exciting area at the forefront of science, but the field is in its infancy. I think about the microbiome like a biologist thinks about the deep sea. We know there’s something down there, and we finally have the technology to help us see who’s actually there and how they are influencing our bodies and brains.”
As we learn more about the intricate, complex, and increasingly important nature of our gut microbiome, we’re also learning about the importance of eating right and taking the correct dietary supplements. As we look to the future, let’s be more willing to make healthy and holistic choices. Let’s fully explore our gut health options. If you have any questions, you can call our office at (727) 768-4688 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to a healthy gut, a clear mind, great focus, and a sharp memory!
Immune Solution Writing Staff