Have you ever experienced a “gut feeling” or “butterflies” in your stomach? It’s not just in your head – it’s in your gut too! There is an inextricable gut-brain connection, meaning your microbiota can have a direct effect on your mood, and vice versa. We’re breaking down the recent advances in research that have highlighted the importance of the gut microbiota in influencing these interactions and how far reaching the effects may be.
The Gut Brain Axis
Your gut and brain are in constant communication through nerves, hormones, and chemical signals, through a “bidirectional communication system,” meaning it functions both ways. This intricate system links the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain and the enteric nervous system, which controls the function of the GI tract and your intestinal functions. This two-way superhighway allows the gut to "talk" to the brain, influencing mood, behavior, and overall cognitive function.
The reason being? Our highly intelligent brains and digestive systems have evolved together to help us survive. Our brains and guts need to stay in close communication to make sure we get the nutrients we need, and if not, that we have a good alarm system in place. For example, a troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut.
The Link Between Gut Health and Mood
Your gut microbes produce or help produce many of the chemical neurotransmitters that convey these messages between your gut and brain. Your gut also regulates and communicates to your brain (and then back again) through your hormones that directly affect your mood. The gut produces hormones like serotonin and dopamine, which are known to influence mood and behavior. An incredible 90% of your serotonin, the key hormone & neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, is actually produced in your intestines. Deficiencies in serotonin have been shown to cause depression and anxiety, which is why most antidepressants work by blocking the brain’s serotonin receptors, so that more serotonin can remain present in the brain.
Therefore, your gut health has a strong influence on your body’s serotonin levels, among other hormones and neuropeptides that can be released and travel through the bloodstream to the brain. This is why imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to various mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and stress. And conversely, when you experience stress, the body tends to create tension, pausing digestion and leading to diarrhea, nausea, or constipation. Overtime, stress can contribute to an imbalance of our gut’s microbial community, allowing bad bacteria to thrive and negative health symptoms to occur.
How to Maintain Gut Health
Our go-to mind-body remedy? Meditation or morning journaling, light exercise like a 30-minute walk, and our activated probiotic, served up in a refreshing smoothie or soothing tea to reclaim mental and digestive balance. Flora Code’s activated probiotic powders help maintain the integrity of your gut, and help regulate your immune and digestive systems. By simply ingesting our probiotic powders, you jumpstart our patented activation process with your natural body heat -- effortlessly promoting a balanced gut microbiome and integrating with your existing routines. All that's up to you is to enjoy once daily.Still have questions about maintaining gut health and what probiotics can do for your overall wellness – both physical and mental? Click here to learn more!