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The Gut-Brain Connection

A facinating topic and one we should make our business to know inside out!

Our ‘Engine Room’ or rather our ‘Gut health’ is intricately linked to our ‘brain health.’

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is becoming increasingly common.

Below is a section taken from IBS Clinic

“IBS is now generally viewed as a disorder of the brain-gut axis. The brain-gut axis describes the communication between the brain and the digestive tract.

The digestive tract contains a large number of nerve cells (more than any other organ except the brain) and is therefore sometimes referred to as the ‘little brain’ and shares many important connections with the ‘big brain’.

This is called the brain-gut axis and its normal function is to regulate digestion and the movement of food without the need for you to be aware of it. Unfortunately sometimes the signals become scrambled or misinterpreted, contributing to symptoms such as those of IBS.

The brain-gut axis links emotional and cognitive centres of the brain with peripheral functioning of the GI tract. The digestive tract and the brain develop from closely related parts of the embryo, and as a result they communicate extensively via nerves such as the Vagus nerve, and share similar nerve endings and chemicals that relay signals and messages (neurotransmitters).

This is how stress, thought, emotion, and psychological problems can affect gut sensation, feeling, motility, and secretion, and sensations arising in the gut can affect the central brain leading to pain or to changes in mood or behaviour.

Normal GI function is characterised by a high degree of coordination between the gut and brain. However, in IBS patients, there is a disruption in this interaction of the brain-gut axis.

This often results in abnormal gut motility and visceral hypersensitivity. Digestive symptoms seem to be related to both abnormal reception by the brain of the signals from the gut, as well as to an increased responsiveness in the brain and in the gut.”

Conditions such a anxiety, depression and the likes are potentially ‘side-effects’ from an unhealthy gut.  Our gut can be damaged by many reasons, even the most natural process – old age – can call for greater TLC for our gut.

To be continued… What damages our gut and how we can get it back on track.

What signs do you notice, showing a link between gut and brain?

P.S.  If there’s anyone in your life (friend, family, employee) who feels a little ‘at a loss’ with their health, please share this post. It might be the fresh perspective they need to feel better.

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