THE BRAIN/GUT CONNECTION…
Did you have any idea that your brain is chatting with your gut? True biz….I promise! As weird as this sounds, research now shows that when these two vital spots don’t communicate a host of serious health issues can result.
Your gut and brain are connected by what scientists have named the “gut-brain axis”, in which the gut literally talks with the brain. Recently, medical studies began to show that this gut-brain communication is involved in almost all aspects of health and disease—when a gut is NOT healthy, the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and certain infections are more prevalent. Conversely, a healthy gut may contribute to improved mental health; a 2019 meta-analysis concluded that probiotics may yield significant improvements for people with depression and anxiety. And, just to give balance here….. Poor mental health and stress may disrupt the gut’s delicate balance. Not to mention all of those Christmas cookies we snack on this time of year, right? No judgement….just sayin’.
Considering the connection between the gut microbiome, inflammation, stress, mental health, and physical health in mind, your overall health and attitude may depend on keeping your stress level low and your brain and gut happy and chatting. While no absolute proof has been shown as to whether stress reduction can directly impact gut health, we have a lead: One study followed patients with IBS through two months of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a technique developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, the founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It found that MBSR improved both the patients’ symptoms as well as their overall quality of life. This research suggests that stress may directly affect the gut after all, although more evidence is needed. The most researched method of exercise used at this time is Yoga. Again, nothing conclusive but, test subjects appear to show positive results.
Did you know about this connection (brain/gut)? Do you have any experience with chronic illness like IBS? What kind of diet to you use?
Eat well. Recharge often. Age Backwards.