“To have a healthy brain and mind, you need a healthy gut,” neuroscientist John Cryan recently preached to an audience as mentioned in Psychology Today’s August 2015 issue. “Cultivating the right bacteria, accumulating evidence suggests, may prevent and even reverse symptoms of disorders ranging from autism to stress reactivity.”
Cryan hails from the University College Cork in Ireland and firmly believes in the direct connection between the mind and the gut. “He and colleagues have recently found that animals born by cesarean section, and not exposed to the microbes accompanying vaginal burth, later had more symptoms of anxiety and depression than animals born naturally.”
Other researcher’s have picked up on the great work being done with animals and have brought it over to the human side. “Timothy Dinan, also of University College Cork, recently gave healthy human volunteers Bifidobacterium longum and recorded reductions in stress levels and improvements in cognition. He aims to identify the specific bacteria–he calls them psychobiotics–that curb depression, anxiety and other mental ills.”
If this fascinates you, check out Molecules of Emotion. Pretty intense on the science side but incredible. 90% of neurotransmitters that are found in the brain are also found in the gut. There’s something to the mind-body connection. This is one of many reasons why I’m so passionate about treating my clients holistically, if they are up for it. So much good.
Other amazing facts as stated in Psychology Today August 2015 issue:
*Are affected in number and metabolic activity by stress. Conversely, a lack of critical gut bacteria upsets the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, leading to overproduction of stress hormones.
*Hack the brain’s reward system, producing food cravings and avoidance.
*Alter expression of genes and production of fatty acids, including those involved in production of the nerve-growth factor BDNF
*Produce neurotransmitters such as GABA, norepinephrine, dopamine, and the precursor to serotonin
*Affect levels of appetitite-regulating hormones, including leptin and ghrelin
*Influence immune function, producing pro and anti-inflammatory substances
*Act through digestion of high-fiber foods to create short-chain fatty acids, which are neuroactive and influence energy metabolism.