Podcast 071: The Leaky Brain: Brain and Gut Connection
The podcast show is stirred by a recent Huffington Post article. You can read the article at http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6480580. The impact of the microflora in our gut is linked directly to brain function. UCLA researchers have found that probiotics alter the brain function.
An important part of health is our microbiome. The microbiome is the bacteria that make up our ecosystem and is made up of 100 trillion organisms. This compromises 90% of our bodies. This is gut and brain communicate through the nervous system, hormones, and immune system. There is a gut/brain barrier that can be compromised during times of high stress. The microbiome actually can release neurotransmitters and speak to the brain via the vagus nerve. This is very important when realizing the whole realm of how the gut and brain are connected.
Stress and overactive immune system have similar results in the body because our body goes into a protective mood. We start to release inflammatory chemicals called cytokines to activate the inflammatory response. This is meant to protect our body because that is what inflammation does. However, chronic inflammation breaks down our bodies and “creates holes.” We see this in the leaky gut but we also now know there is the leaky brain that goes along with leaky gut. The longer the stress, inflammation, and immune system activation, the more the body has this response.
The leaky brain can start to let other toxins and molecules have access to the brain. A molecule called microRNA-155 is responsible for cleaving epithelial cells to create microscopic gaps. This is shown in research that was published in June 2014 in The FASEB Journal.
More and more research is coming out about gut health and mental issues
May 2013 Swedish study found that anxiety and depression are linked to abdominal problems; both IBS and milder GI symptoms
August 2013 Vanderbilt University study found that adults who had stomach issues as children were 4 to 5 times more likely to have anxiety as adults