The gut-brain axis (GBA) refers to the communication between your central nervous system and your intestinal function. This includes a few physiological processes. This counts down my top 5 favorite!
5. Regulating Food Intake
It might come as a shock that we have less control over how much we eat then we might think. Colonies of E. coli living comfortably in your intestine will often release proteins and peptides after a meal. These peptide hormones communicate information about the current state of energy balance to the brain, communicating if the body needs more food or less. "Are we full or not?"
4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Results from intestinal microbiota profiling demonstrate changes of mucosal and faecal gut microbiota, in cases of IBS. Investigators are also starting to measure how the host (you) and the changes in bacteria interact in cases of IBS. The current theory is that abnormal microbiota activate mucosal (stomach wall tissue) immune responses and disrupt the enteric nervous system (ENS), which is responsible for such functions as coordination of reflexes.
3. Brain Development
Studies on animals have shown that gut bacteria is critical to development and maturation of both central nervous system (CNS) and enteric nervous system (ENS). When the microbiota was removed in these studies, neurotransmitter expression was altered in both CNS and ENS. Likewise, the turnover rate, of which neurotransmitters lived was shortened.
2. Memory Retention
One of the most important factors involved in memory is the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which acts in the CNS helping to support the survival of existing neurons, and encourage the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses, vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking. In animal studies, memory dysfunction has been reported probably to be ascribed to an altered expression of (BDNF) within the intestinal microbiota.
Not so much the intestine affecting the brain, but the brain affecting the intestine. Since stress and depression are so common these days I thought I would include this one too. In dogs, stress affects gastric and intestinal postprandial motility, delaying the recovery of the migrating motor complex pattern and inducing constipation. Mental stress too increases the frequency of colon irritation. Changes in gastrointestinal transit caused by stress can have profound effects on the delivery of important nutrients, mainly prebiotics and dietary fibers, to the microbiota.
So there you go! All 5 facts, and hopefully it didn't stress you out too much! Be sure to eat your vegetables, drink lots of water and maybe take some probiotics. Soon enough, your microbiota will be improved, and with it all the benefits of improved sleep, clavings, regulation of glucose and fat metabolism, insulin secretion, and cognition.
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If you want to learn about how to increase the effectiveness of your coffee read my other blog post here => How to increase the effectiveness of a single cup of coffee