The human body has an intricate relationship with its environment. The gut is home to trillions of bacteria that live symbiotically with our bodies. This relationship between the gut and the rest of the body is called the “gut-brain axis.”
The Gut-Brain Connection – Introduction
The gut-brain axis is a complex system that connects the gastrointestinal tract (GI) to the central nervous system (CNS). It consists of two main parts: the enteric nervous system (ENS), which regulates GI function; and the CNS, which controls the ENS.
The Gut-Brain Connection – The Role of Microbiota in the GBA Axis
The microbiota has been shown to play an important role in regulating the immune response, inflammation, metabolism, and behaviour. This means that when our gut flora is healthy, we feel better physically and mentally. Conversely, when our gut flora is unhealthy, we can suffer from a variety of ailments, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, asthma, obesity, and even anxiety and depression.
The Gut-Brain Connection – The Role of Diet and Exercise in the Gut-Brain Axis.
We also need to eat well and exercise regularly to keep our gut flora healthy. A balanced diet with plenty of fibre, probiotics and gut-healthy supplements will help us maintain good gut flora. Regular exercise helps us stay fit and strong, which makes us less likely to develop diseases like type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
The Gut-Brain Connection – Stress & Anxiety
It’s not just stress that affects our gut bacteria; anxiety can also play a part. If we feel anxious, our body releases cortisol, a hormone that can cause inflammation and disrupt the gut lining. This leads to an imbalance in the gut flora, which can lead to digestive issues.
The Gut-Brain Connection – Sleep & Depression
We often think of sleep as something that happens when we go to bed at night. However, sleep actually occurs throughout the day too. During the day, we spend up to 90% of our time asleep. While we need to sleep during the night, we also need to sleep during the day.
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Our gut health is actively linked to our general health and well-being.
The gut microbiome helps to support vital processes in your body such as digestion as well as brain function and immune health, making it important to sustain its healthy balance.
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