Can the bacteria in our gut affect our brain function?
PTSD is a complex problem, and diagnosis is not always easy as the effects manifest themselves in different ways…but it is fair to say that Depression is usually one of the symptoms and ‘curing’ it is not as simple as administering antidepressants as these do not necessarily solve the underlying cause. So doctors have begun to look at treating the patient holistically and that led to the link between the brain and the gut because there is a key, physical link that relays information between the two..and that link is the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve relays information using molecules called neurotransmitters and they found that approximately 80-90% of nerve fibres in the vagus nerve go from the gut to the brain.
Interestingly, this connection is part of our everyday language…having a gut-feeling. Or a gut-wrenching moment. If we feel nervous we say we have ‘butterflies in our stomach’.
So… to the gut, or more specifically, the micro biome.
What is a micro biome?
In layman’s terms, it is like having a compost heap inside you…if you love it and feed it with good stuff, it returns the love and helps to keep you well. But if you feed it trash then it returns that favour too.
There are over 1,000 species of micro-organisms in the gut, consisting of over 3 million genes which are important to our wellbeing. They perform many functions other than regulating our immune system. These include aiding in digestion and presentation of vitamins and minerals for absorption, regulation of metabolism and the prevention of obesity. Once upset, these regulatory functions can be affected, resulting in autoimmune diseases, metabolic diseases, obesity and gut problems and even cancer (lymphoma) Other conditions linked to upset gut bacteria include mental and psychological conditions like anxiety disorder and depression.
Gut health is a pet topic of mine and I covered it in my book Turn Back Time, written with Carole Malone a couple of years ago. Carole was diagnosed with depression and we worked to solve her problems by addressing her gut health. Here’s what she had to say:
Carole is now back on track with her life and her depression is under control primarily because we rebalanced her micro biome so it is functioning normally, but if her comments and symptoms resonate with you, I would urge you to get yourself tested.
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