THE GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION and HOW TO IMPROVE IT


The Gut and the Nervous System are intertwined.


There is a nerve called the Vagus nerve. It originates in the brain and runs throughout the entire nervous system. It is even connected to the heart. This is called the gut-brain connection or the gut-brain axis.

This axis keeps everything functioning smoothly (when there are no health issues) and allows the whole system to communicate all the time and adjust as needed. An example of this is when you are nervous and get butterflies in your stomach, it’s because the nervous system effects the muscle tone and coordinated movement of the bowel!

It also effects what enzymes and hormones are sent out.

 

How to improve your Gut-Brain axis:

 

1: HEAL YOUR GUT!

Leaky gut is directly linked to leaky brain! So, focus first on healing your gut. Once your gut is healed, you will find that you’ve addressed the root cause of the problem, and your symptoms improve or go away. This can be tricky to do and requires the assistance of a Holistic Practitioner.



 

2: STIMULATE YOUR VAGUS NERVE

The Vagus Nerve, a nerve that is critical to overall health, is responsible for linking the brain stem to the gut, heart and lungs. Approximately 80% of its nerve fibres serve to drive information from the body to the brain. Studies have shown that stimulating the vagus nerve can result in the restoration of Homeostasis in the microbiota-gut-brain axis.


You can do this through doing things like:

Yoga

Meditation

Deep Breathing

Laughing

Cold showers

Massage

Sleeping on your right side

Fasting

Taking a high-quality probiotic relevant to your gut issues.

 

3: DECREASE YOUR STRESS!

I cannot stress this enough! Pardon the pun.

Acute and chronic stress has been shown to help promote the destruction of the blood-brain barrier.

Stress can completely change how the gut works, affecting the time it takes for food to move through, what gets digested and how it gets absorbed, and even what bacteria are growing. This is why people commonly experience diarrhea and/or constipation when they are under severe stress.

And its why there is a strong connection between anxiety and chronic stress and GI (gastrointestinal) issues.

Please practice mindfulness, deep breathing, meditation, yoga and self-love.

 

4: DECREASE THE ALCOHOL.

Don’t shoot me. You may think this sounds drastic. But I highly recommend either eliminating or greatly decreasing your alcohol intake. Alcohol has been shown to contribute to increased blood-brain barrier permeability. And impairs not only gut and liver functions but can lead to persistent systematic inflammation in the body.

 

5: EXERCISE – Your BODY and your MIND.

Exercise increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which is responsible for the growth of new brain cells. A good approach to exercise is finding a balance between high intensity interval training (HIIT) and more relaxing, self-healing exercises such as yoga and walking (especially in nature).

Furthermore, exercising your brain through meditation has been shown to increase regions of the brain involved in learning and memory processes, emotional regulation, self-referential processing and perspective taking. Science is now catching up with all its research and studies into meditation proving the benefits that have been known in ancient wisdom for thousands of years.

 

The health of your gut is linked back to so many aspects of your overall health. A lot of our hormones are also linked back to our gut so its imperative you do not ignore the signs and symptoms of an impaired functioning gut. Serotonin is our “feel good” hormone and 70% of it is made in your gut! What is going on in your gut is going to affect your mood – anxiety, depression and focus.

 

So, take care of you.

 

Nicole

INHC HHP.