The brain gut connection - July 2020
As far back as the third century B.C.E, Hippocrates stated “All disease begins in the gut”. Since then, with many scientific advances, it is now able to be proven that Hippocrates’ statement is the truth.
The human body is colonized by a multitude of organisms, called microbes, which cover your insides and outsides, thriving in your mouth, nose, ears, intestines, and every inch of your skin. These microbes are known as the microbiome, they are fundamental to life, and the majority are living within the digestive tract.
These intestinal organisms participate in a wide variety of physiologic actions, including immune system functioning, detoxification, inflammation, neurotransmitter and vitamin production, nutrient absorption, signaling being hungry or full, and utilizing carbohydrates and fat. All of these processes factor heavily into whether or not we experience allergies, asthma, ADHD, cancer, diabetes, or dementia. The microbiome affects our mood, libido, metabolism, immunity, and even our perception of the world and the clarity of our thoughts. It helps determine whether or not we are fat or thin, energetic or lethargic. In other words, everything about our health- how we feel both emotionally and physically- hinges on the state of our microbiome.
Even without extreme health challenges, a dysfunctional microbiome could be at the root of your headaches, anxiety, inability to concentrate, or negative outlook on life. Transforming your gut health will, in turn, transform your cognitive health so you can add many more vibrant years to your life. Many people have different risk factors, history and medical conditions to deal with, however the key to feeling better is to minimize inflammation and keep a healthy microbiome! Some ways to do this include getting a good night sleep, decrease sugar and gluten intake, avoiding processed foods, avoiding environmental chemicals and pesticides, choose foods rich in probiotics, ingest low carb and high quality fats and drink filtered water.
If you have concerns about your diet, gut health or the way you feel overall, make sure to consult with your medical provider, dietician or specialist for a full evaluation, prior to making changes to your regular routine.
Julie Cunningham, PMHNP, MBA