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Post: Haims: The link between gut and brain health is real

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Haims: The link between gut and brain health is real
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Judson Haims. Courtesy photo Don’t bother reading the following if you have never had an upset stomach that may have caused you to become moody — or, if you have never had a “gut” feeling. However, if you have had such an experience, it should be considered plausible that a link between the gut and brain exists.

If you have ever been depressed and experienced excessive weight swings, or if you have ever had “butterflies” in your stomach resulting from overactive thinking/nerves, you most likely buy into the premise that emotions can trigger symptoms in the gut. Likewise, if you have ever had an upset stomach and become irritable, it should be plausible that the gut can affect mood. Both positive and negative emotions send signals to the gut and the gut can send signals to the brain.

Although it is widely known that there exists a connection between the gut and brain via chemicals called neurotransmitters, researchers are now gaining a better understanding of how microbiome in the gut may influence one’s emotional well-being. Researchers are now better understanding how gut microbiota influences the release neurotransmitters such as GABA (reduce anxiety), serotonin (mood, sleep, digestion), histamine (allergy symptoms, regulating sleep-wake cycle, and acetylcholine (memory, learning, attention) — all of which play roles in emotional well-being. Researchers at Johns Hopkins, MD Andreson, UCLA, Harvard Medical School, Cleveland Clinic, and elsewhere throughout the world are exploring the impact of gut health and brain health. What they are finding affects each and every one of us — our gut and brain influences: behavior, stress, cognitive function, food cravings/food preferences, and immunity. Outside of our brain, our gastrointestinal (GI) tract contains the most complex neuro network — over 500 million neurons.

While there may not be a definitive definition of what good gut health is, the concept should be self-explanatory. Good gut health stimulates the absorption of nutrients our body can use – it promotes energy and a feeling of well-being. Good gut health also assists in balancing “bad” bacteria as well as promoting immunity and propagating anti-inflammation. Developing healthy gut microbiome

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