Haven’t you been given the advice to “go with you gut”? Have you ever felt the “butterflies” in your stomach before an interview or an important event? Well, these phrases may not be as fleeting a previously thought.
Folks at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Columbia Universtiy Medical Center and other prestigious research institutes around the world are confirming these truths(1). Bleeding edge research into Neurogastroenterology, the gut brain connection for short, suggests that our gut health has a direct influence upon our ability to think(2).
The Central Nervous System and The Gut
We all know of the Central Nervous System. It’s power over our organs and connection back to the brain are remarkable. Even 3rd graders have profound respect for this complicated nerve system.
Yet, most have not heard of the Enteric Nervous System. Michael Gershon revealed to the world in the late 1990’s that the Enteric Nervous System has more neurons in it and is seemingly more complex than our Central Nervous System. Then, that this ENS links directly to our Central Nervous System.
The great connection is fascinating. Gershon being the individual that coined the phrase “The Second Brain” in his 1998 book by the same name. Gershon is the Chairman of the board of Anatomy and Cell Biology at New York Presbyterian Health in NYC.
The Gut Brain Connection
This powerful anatomical link between the gut and the brain shifts our focus to improving our gut health. If there is this great connection between the two we need to focus on having a healthy microbiome.
Our Enteric Nervous System effects much more than how you digest. There are many studies linking depression and the brain to your gut health(3). Suggesting that depression treatment naturally may be possible.
The Gut Brain Connection Evolution
We’ve seen the research reveal more to us over the past 15-30 years than the thousands of years before it. There have been studies at Johns Hopkins University by Dr Jay Pasricha and his team of Neurogastroenterologists that are groundbreaking.
In the mid to late 2010’s these researchers were paving the way. They found that the condition of the gut effects our mood(1). There are scientists around the world today that are revealing a link between our gut flora and our ability to cope with stress, depression and anxiety(3).
Researchers in the past thought that our mental health had a direct impact on our gut health. However, it is a two way street. Our brains ability to perform mental tasks may be directly correlated with the state of our Gut through the ENS and CNS connection.
Studies On Cognitive Ability and The Gut
In this recent study, from late 2015, researchers discovered something quite remarkable. They took mice and altered their diets. There were two groups of mice. One which had a diet that would alter their gut flora negatively and one that would alter their gut flora positively. A control group was present.
They had the mice run a certain set of tasks like water mazes and cognitive functions in which memorization was required. After the mice were on these diets for 2 weeks they then had them run cognitive tests again of similar nature.
After two weeks they found a direct impact on the Mice’s ability to remember and perform cognitive exercises to their gut health. The findings suggest that diet and gut bacteria effects brain and cognitive function.
What Does the Future Hold?
These findings are among many. The connection between the gut and the brain has been so deeply explored. There seem to be breakthroughs monthly.
This helps us to move into the future with a great awareness. We can improve so many facets of our lives by incorporating fermented foods into our diets. It may not only make you feel better but to think better. What do you have to lose?