Discover the Importance of the Microbiota for Mental Wellbeing

Was anyone going to tell me there’s a second brain in your gut? Or was I just supposed to find out about it at 2 am on a Monday? How does gut microbiota influence overall wellbeing? Let’s find out.

Person pointing to heart on a medical x ray showing link of microbiota and brain. Anna Shvets from Pexels
Next thing you know, we’ll find neurons in the heart, oh wait we have.

We’ve discussed why gut health matters and what foods to eat, but there’s more to discover about this vital part of our body. Kind of cool, but why does that matter?

What is the Gut Microbiota

The gut has a neural network of more than 100 million neurons, which are the fundamental units that make up the brain. The microbiome connects and links the gut-brain axis. This is known as your “second brain.” It is in a nervous system connection with the main brain.

Unlike other organs in our body, our intestine can function alone. It has its own autonomy to make decisions; it does not need the brain to tell it what to do.

When the brain receives information on the state of the body, the intestine is its main source of communication. This is because it is the largest sensory organ that collects information about the quality of nutrients, the state of immune cells, and hormones. Information about the general state of the body is also relayed.

The gut receives and then sends all that information to the brain to link it with our emotions and thoughts. Therefore, it plays a decisive role in physical and emotional well-being.

Link Between Microbiota Health and Mental Health

Research in recent decades has revealed a growing number of neuropathologies that are associated with alterations in the normal profiles of these microorganisms in the intestine.

Among others, are Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, depression, and sleep disorders. These are directly related to how healthy the microorganisms are in the intestine.

50% of the dopamine and 95% of the serotonin we produce originates in the intestine. These substances are related to happiness and good humor. They improve any symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Microbiota Health and Physical Health

Microbiologist and Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff said that most diseases start in the digestive tract. According to this scientist, this happens when “good” bacteria are unable to control “bad” ones.

In recent years, multiple investigations have demonstrated the relationship between the microbiota and the development of different intestinal diseases. Among these diseases are irritable or leaky bowel syndrome, intestinal inflammation, and celiac disease, as well as psychiatric diseases, and cardiovascular conditions.

It is important to restore good bacteria that have been killed or reduced by the use of antibiotics, poor nutrition, or inflammatory diseases. A favorable and natural balance of bacteria in the colon makes it easier to fight infections, increase immune system response, and even improve anxiety and chronic depression.

It is known for sure that the origin of many diseases is related in some way to the imbalance of the bacterial community (dysbiosis), which exists within each living organism.

The Takeaway

Now more than ever is it vital to look after our gut health. This is done by increasing our nutrition in our diet by eating the right foods. Avoid additives, preservatives, and an excess of sugar to help support your gut health!

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