Have you ever felt sick to your stomach because you were anxious, scared or excited? How about feeling at your peak mental performace after a great workout? Do you believe physical stress leads to mental stress?
Let’s begin by exploring the importance, communication and relationship between your gut and your brain. We are one whole body, one whole system. Your troubled gut sends messages to your brain and your troubled brain sends messages to your gut.
Our gut is made up of the gut flora and the immune system. The gut flora is the complex community of microorganisms that live in your digestive tracts. It has a significant role in nutrition, produces digestive enzymes and synthesize vitamins. Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the gut.” Did you know that your Gastrointestinal System begins in the mouth when you ingest food, moving down to your stomach where digestion begins, to the small intestines for food digestion and absorption, then to the large intestines for absorption.
Our immune system starts in the mouth all the way to the intestines, which is our entire GI System. 90% of our immune system is found in the gut. The immune system is our only defense against illnesses, disorders, inflammation, infection or sickness.
Gastrointestinal health can be the root cause for many other health issues including brain and mental health. Healing your gut allows the body to build a stronger immune system, as well as produce the right kind of bacteria that tells your brain that it’s okay to feel good again. It is possible to repair the damage that’s been done to your gut over years of imbalances or unhealthy diets.
Scientist are learning that this intimate relationship between the gut and the brain is bidirectional with the vagus nerve that runs outside the brain and through the digestive system directing many bodily processes that don’t require thought like heart rate, breathing and digestion. At the same time, the bacteria in the gut directly affect the function of the cells along the vagus nerve. And some of the gut’s nerve cells and microbes release neurotransmitters that speak to the brain.
It is all about maintaing a healthy gut flora to balance your immune system in order to shield and protect you from all disease. Balancing your immune system helps balance your life to promote self healing and wellness. This is because our immune system contains blood, organs, cells, particularly epithelial cells that function as our body’s safety shields. These epithelial cells are the central component of the immune system in the gut.
The Gut Flora helps maintain the integrity of its lining by converting unabsorbed dietary sugars into short-chain fatty acids, forming a protective layer and blocking harmful bacteria and preventing infections or inflammations.
Renowned Functional Medicne Dr. Mark Hyman said: “To treat the brain we must remove the cause of inflammation…restore normal immune balance through food, nutrients, exercise, sleep and stress management.”
Balancing your life starts with balancing your immune system to promote healing and wellness of mind & body.
Desi Isidro, LCSW, CHP