Your gut health and your brain are connected. Often times, one is unaware that the problems that his gut is facing are in response to what the brain is going through. On the other hand, when the gut suffers, the brain can also become a victim.
What is the Gut-Brain Axis?
The Gut-Brain Axis is the communication pathway between the Central Nervous System and the Gastrointestinal Tract. It is the route of the physical and chemical connections between the two systems. Therefore, when your gut says something, listen to it. Because the term “gut-wrenching” and the phrase “gut feeling” have not been pulled out of nowhere.
Your gut shares a bidirectional connection with your brain and shares a link with your immune, endocrine, and the autonomic nervous systems. When your brain is troubled, it signals the gut. Similarly, a troubled gut also impacts the brain. In this regard, research also shows that altering the microbiome of the gut may be able to improve brain health.
What causes Gut-Brain Axis Dysfunction?
This brings us to the vices of an unhealthy gut and how the imbalance of gut microbiome is able to wreak havoc on overall health. The microbiome refers to the population of good and bad bacteria that live in the gut. The gut houses more microorganisms than any other part of the body. When the bad bacteria residing in the gut outbalance the good ones or when fungi, viruses, toxins, plague the gut, the communication between the gut and the brain is disturbed.
Hence, the gut-brain axis pathway is not able to do its job properly. This can promote a variety of signals including anxiety and depression as part of a condition called the gut-brain axis dysfunction. The gut-brain connection also explains the nausea you feel when you are anxious such as before a presentation. It also is the reason behind why you feel intestinal pain in stressful situations.
This is why the gut is often referred to as a second brain. After all the Enteric Nervous system has a place in the gut. About a hundred million of its nerve cells line the gastrointestinal tract. The impacts of an unhealthy gut are not just limited to mental ailments. In fact, due to the vast links of the GI tract, an imbalance in the gut can ruin digestive health, cause joint pain, hormonal problems, and lower immune response as well.
How do gut microbiome impact overall health?
An unfavorable imbalance between the good and bad bacteria of the gut can cause gut dysbiosis. An overload of bad bacteria, toxins, etc. damage the mucosal layer and make it more permeable. Hence, food particles are allowed to wander out into the bloodstream. This switches on the immune system which causes inflammation and one’s health is compromised as the consequence of a series of actions.
Symptoms of an impaired gut-brain link
There are several symptoms that indicate Gut-Brain Axis Dysfunction. If you experience one or more of these, its time to clean up your gut health and combat the many problems that it maybe causing.
- Weight gain
- Brain fog
- Memory loss
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Food sensitivity
- Sleep issues
How can you improve your gut health?
Improving your gut health can help combat the damage and see a positive change in your mood and memory among other benefits. Here are some ways you can work on for bettering your gut health.
Keep stress at bay:
The first and foremost rule to improving any health problem, this one included, is to kick stress out. Stressing too much can put a lot more than your gut health at stake. There are several ways you can fight off stress, these include smart breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, etc.
Eat more gut-friendly foods:
Consume foods that your gut is sure to like. These include fruits, vegetables, and yogurt. A diet that is directed at healing your gut should be your goal. You can also intake supplements that can help restore balance in the gut microbiome.
Take probiotic supplements:
There are several supplements available that can improve your gut health by increasing the number of good bacteria in the body. These supplements are also able to curb unhealthy inflammation. In doing so, they can protect one’s overall health.
Go for intermittent fasting:
Even a single day of this can help revamp your gut health as per experts. Intermittent fasting can help improve the symptoms of gut-brain axis dysfunction. It can free you of not only an overload of bad bacteria but also drastically improve your mood.
Your gut and brain are interconnected. When the functionality of either fluctuates, the other suffers as well. The Gut-Brain Axis refers to the link that these two systems share. When the bad bacteria in one’s gut overpower the good ones, they can lead to a condition called dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis can cause upheaval in the entire body as the GI tract is associated with several other systems of the body as well. Taking better care of your gut by consuming probiotic foods and supplements and reducing stress can help balance gut bacteria and improve overall health.