The Gut Brain Connection

by Elysia Humphries - Naturopath on April 7, 2016 · 0 comments

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Digestive health is so important for health!

Do you feel butterflies in the pit of their stomach when you are stressed or anxious?

This reaction shows there is a complex interaction between your gut and brain, with the gut being referred to as our “second brain”. The gut is full of nerves and neurotransmitter receptors from the enteric nervous system (part of the autonomic nervous system which performs unconscious function, like your heart beating) that is wired directly to the brain. The gut cells produce most of our serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter, so not only do we need to look at ingesting enough of the nutrients required for serotonin production, we need to ensure our gut health is in balance to be able to utilise it!

Have you heard of the Microbiome?

It is a complex array of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms totalling nearly 100 trillion! The body’s microflora out number your body’s cells by 10:1. There is more and more research coming out supporting the major role of the microflora to both physical and mental health.

Not only does your gut help you digest, absorb and excrete the food you ingest, it filters pathogens and can stimulate a chain of immune reactions. About 70-80% of your immune cells are in your gut!

For proper immune function, we want to have plenty of beneficial (“good”) bacteria, which helps keep your pathogenic (“bad”) bacteria in line. When there is an imbalance the “bad” bacteria can take over and the body’s surveillance system cannot work properly, leaving you more vulnerable to pathogens from the environment.

“Good” bacteria also ferment fibre and resistant starch to make short chain fatty acids which provides energy for them to do their job and maintain a healthy colon. Are you eating enough fibre?

 

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What affects our gut health?

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Today’s modern lifestyle can hugely impact the health of the gut, including:

  • Overuse of antibiotics
  • Pesticides, herbicides (from non-organic food, highly refined foods and unfiltered water)
  • Over use of hygienic products (eg antibacterial sprays and lotions)
  • Stress (both physical and mental or emotional)

Conditions related to unbalanced microbiome:

  • Mood eg Anxiety and depression
  • Metabolic eg Obesity and cardiovascular disease
  • Intestinal eg inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Skin eg Eczema
  • Immunity eg Common cold and autoimmune diseases
  • Energy

 

What can you start doing today?onions-garlics-1171862-639x499

Gut microbes respond quickly to the foods we eat. Try adding one to three serves per day of either prebiotic foods (foods that feed the beneficial bacteria) and/or probiotic foods (foods that contain beneficial bacteria).yoghurt-on-a-plate-1516657-639x557

PREbiotic foods PRObiotic containing foods
Jerusalem artichokes Sauerkraut (refrigerated, non-pasteurized)
Beetroot Pickles (refrigerated, non-pasteurized)
Onion Cultured vegetables (refrigerated, non-pasteurized)
Garlic Kimchi
Leeks Kefir
Asparagus Organic Natto (fermented soy)
Chicory Tempeh
Banana Miso
Beans Yoghurt (without sugar), including non-dairy yoghurt

Sometimes people will take probiotic or fermented foods and feel worse, this also indicates there is an imbalance and it would be advisable to find out why. Perhaps there is a group of food sugars that you are reacting to and an elimination diet might be suitable. Naturopaths have access to many testing options including food intolerance and comprehensive stool tests which provide so much information and lead to targeted treatment for you, saving you both time and money in the long run.

Learn to love your microbime!

Are you ready for Vibe Natural Health’s detoxification program to get your microbiome in balance? Firstly we will start with the killing of pathogens, support gut health and elimination, then reflourish with beneficial bacteria tailored to your needs.

Pay ahead with a three pack to save $50 on your consultation fees!

To get started with Angela Prest contact our friendly reception team on 3366 7970, email info@vibenaturalhealth.com.au, or book online anytime.

This post was written by...

– who has written 37 posts on Vibe Natural Health Blog.

Elysia is Naturopath based in Brisbane, Australia. She has a passion for health care and education. With 14 years clinical experience she created the Vibe Natural Health clinic with a view to providing clients with results based natural health care, within a friendly environment. Her journey towards studying Naturopathy and Nutrition began as a teenager when she had to take months off school due to glandular fever and immune system problems. This came after a period of stress and this lead her to realise the profound effect that stress can have upon wellbeing. Her family visited both doctors and naturopaths and with a combined treatment plan she recovered her good health and was inspired to study Naturopathy and help others on their journey toward better health. It's through keeping an open mind, exploring new ideas and information that we keep ourselves enriched, inspired and healthy. May this blog be a way for us to share ideas and keep inspired!

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