The brain is our master control system and the gut digests our food. Both are highly important for day to day life and even more basic, our survival.
It is intuitive that these systems are interrelated. Think of expressions that you may frequently use: “I have a gut feeling” and “butterflies in my stomach”. These systems are a two-way highway communicating back and forth with each other. This means that brain health can impact the gut and gut health influence the brain.
Ever-expanding scientific research is exploring the connections between gut-brain health and depression & other mood disorders; autism & neurological disorders; hormonal signaling and irritable bowel syndrome amongst others.
The brain controls the gut’s:
- Movement to break down food and carry it along the digestive track;
- Enzyme & hormone secretions; and
- Possibly also immune activity located within the gut.
Changes in the signals sent from the brain to the gut can then affect these functions. A common example of this is stress. When you are stressed, an emotional response produced by the brain, how does your gut feel?
The gut influences brain health by supplying the nutrients required to function and providing feedback to the brain to affect emotions and cognition.
In part two, we will explore food intolerances and their possible symptoms, detecting food intolerances and their connection to body and brain health.