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How is your gut connected to your brain?

Did you know that your brain and your gut are connected?

It may seem strange, but it’s true!

Your brain and your gut communicate directly with each other, through something called the gut-brain axis. The gut-brain axis, or GBA, works through a lot of complex cross-talk between your hormonal, immune and nervous systems.

Your brain has 100 billion neurons. And your gut also has neurons – 100 million of them – exactly the same type of neurons as your brain. Your gut neurons work the same way that your brain neurons do, by passing information to one another.

Basically, this means that all the neurons in your body are talking to one another, all the time! Imagine this like a chorus of bird song – they are constantly communicating, singing, passing information about threats, predators and what’s going on in the environment.

It’s all a big conversation. What happens to your brain affects your gut – and what happens to your gut affects your brain. In fact they call your gut “the second brain” – when you have a “gut instinct” about something, that’s your second brain at work!

So, what happens to this fragile and communicative ecosystem when you do something like – say – taking a course of antibiotics? Antibiotics kill the good bugs in your system, just like pouring bleach into a river. It doesn’t just kill the bad bugs causing your infection – it kills ALL the fish. And these bugs are the ones controlling your entire immune system – so this is bad news.

Imagine the impact this would have on an ecosystem. Kill the fish, and you also kill the birds that eat the fish. And the plants that are spread by the birds. And the microbes in the soil that grow on the roots of the plants.

The forest goes silent. No more information gets passed, in the brain or the gut. Communication shuts down. And in your own personal ecosystem that’s bad news, for both your brain and your gut!

When this happens inside your internal microbiome, chances are good that you will end up with IBS and anxiety or depression. The two go together, hand in hand.

Scientists have found that if you start out with IBS, you have an increased risk of also ending up with anxiety or depression. Which isn’t too surprising – because IBS is a depressing, anxiety-producing condition.

But here’s the weird part. Scientists have also discovered that it works the other way round as well. If you start out with anxiety or depression, chances are good that you’ll end up with IBS!

How do we know this? The discovery occurred after a terrible accident in Antwerp, Belgium. In December 2010, more than 18,000 residents were exposed to contaminated drinking water, and many of them came down with gastroenteritis. To their amazement, scientists examining these poor folks discovered that people who were suffering from anxiety or depression before the incident, had more severe gastrointestinal infections afterwards.

Later exploration has confirmed this fact. Your gut and your brain are connected. Anything that affects one, will affect the other.

For you, this is actually good news. Why? Because it’s easier to treat the gut, than it is the brain. And treating your gut – will heal your brain as well! As your IBS resolves, your anxiety and depression will clear up at the same time.

How do we do this? By working with something important in your body called serotonin. We’ll learn more about serotonin – what it is, how it works and and most importantly, how you can heal your serotonin system – in the next video.

You can find more information on how to repair your gut and brain in the book The Kefir Solution: Natural Healing for IBS, Depression and Anxiety.

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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