Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Guts to the Brain is a Two Way Street

I was sitting on my coach feeling good one Saturday, over the course of a half hour, feeling good changes dramatically.  Next thing I know, my brain, via the Vagus nerve,  is telling my 2nd brain, the guts, to expel everything.  I mean EVERYTHING.  Found a dangerous intruder, get it out any way possible.  (there are only two ways people)

It keeps coming back to the gut, technically considered the mouth to the anus.  More neurons in the gut then the rest of the nervous system.  The Vagus nerve is the connection from the gut to the brain.  90% more signals pass from the gut to the brain, then the brain to the gut. Yes, the gut gives more information to the brain, not the other way around.  95% of Serotonin is produced in the gut.  Treating depression with drugs to upload more serotonin, not fixing the problem per say.

 More bacteria in the gut then cells in your body. 100 trillion.  500 different kinds.  Yes, there are more then just L. acidophilus.  Good and bad should be a ratio of 85-15.  If you take an antibiotic, it can't tell the difference between the two and kills them both.  Always resupply with a probiotic. Get rid of the antibiotic soap.  Just use soap.

It's not a coincidence that allergies and asthma are on the rise in today's kids.  Cesareans are partially to blame as they are on a dramatic upswing.  As the baby passes through the birth canal it takes with it some of the moms good bacteria.  Without the natural child birth, this process doesn't happen.

80% of your immunity is in your gut.  Stressed out gut.  Stressed out immune system.  Bad bacteria feast on processed foods, pasteurized foods even.  Sugar, white flour, alcohol, all stress the gut out.

One study showed that swapping gut microbes from one mouse to the next made those mice lose weight.  Gut Microbe Swap Helps Mice Shed Weight.  Don't get to excited about this yet though, It will be years before you just have to upload good bacteria to lose weight.

Another study showed that a calorie restricted diet can have a very positive effect on longevity and in changing the gut to more favorable bacteria.  This was in mice.  The calories were restricted to 30%.  That's quite drastic.  Fasting for a Healthier Gut.  Potential use for humans?  Maybe a 24 hour fast every now an then, or try Intermittent Fasting for a few months and see how your body does.

What you eat influences how you feel.  I know pretty obvious, eat lots of crap and an hour later you are sleeping or feel like junk.  But, there is also more subtle ways as well.  Eat fatty acids and your brain is wired from the gut to feel less sad.  Perhaps this is why fatty foods are a comfort food?  Fatty-Acid Induced Signals.

More research is being done on how possibly the guts microbes influence some of the brain degeneration diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.  This brings us to this article and study. Changing Gut Bacteria Through Diet Affects Brain Function.

In this study basically the women that ate probiotics showed communication from the gut to the brain and under fMRI showed cognitive changes.  This opens up doors for research into fields like chronic pain, mental and digestive disorders.

It also raises a very interesting point that if probiotics affect the brain can antibiotics do the same?  Should we be more careful in putting kids through as many antibiotics as we do if we know that its effects could be felt in the brain?

Gut flora research is still in the infancy, but already, new and exciting research is being done.  Until then,  keep that two way street between the gut and the brain working as efficiently as possible.

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