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Gut Health

Unlock the secret to a healthier life through gut health maintenance

Unlock the secret to a healthier life through gut health maintenance
Writer and expert2 months ago
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Did you know that your gut can have an impact on your overall health? The truth is, your gut and brain are connected through a communication system called the gut-brain axis. This means that looking after your gut and ensuring it's in great condition is important for your wellbeing.

If you’re wondering how to improve your health by taking good care of your gut, PrecisionBiotics® is here to help you understand how the two go hand in hand. We’ll also explore how improving your gut microbiome can help relieve symptoms of some mental health conditions[1] .

How is the brain connected to the gut?

To understand how looking after your gut benefits your general health, we need to identify the different aspects of the communication system.

The gut-brain axis

The gut-brain axis is the two-way communication system between your gut and brain. It’s a communication network that consists of nerve cells, chemicals, and microbes. The brain is part of the central nervous system (CNS), linking to the enteric nervous system (ENS) in the gut. The ENS can impact both the digestive system and your mental health.

The vagus nerve

Neurons are cells found in the brain, nervous system and the gut. The neurons in the gut connect to the brain through the nervous system. The vagus nerve is one of the biggest nerves connecting the gut and brain. It runs from your brain to your colon and sends signals in both directions.

Many studies in animals and humans reflect the importance of the vagus nerve in the gut-brain axis. One study highlighted how stress hindered the vagus nerve signals and resulted in gastrointestinal problems.


The gut and brain also connect through chemicals called neurotransmitters that both organs produce. The neurotransmitters produced in the brain control the body’s emotions and feelings.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating your mood and helps the body experience happiness. Even more interesting is that the gut produces a large quantity of serotonin through the gut cells and microbes.

While serotonin plays a helpful role in digestion, it can make changes to the gut that send signals to the brain, impacting the production of neurotransmitters found there.

Another neurotransmitter that gut microbes produce is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps reduce feelings of fear, stress and anxiety.

The gut microbiome

Gut bacteria includes viruses and fungi called microorganisms or microbes found in the gastrointestinal tract. These microbes make up the gut microbiome, which is found in the large intestine.

The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in your overall health, and the microbes act essentially as another organ in your body. While most of these microbes are good for you and help digest food, produce vitamins and regulate the immune system, some microbes can be harmful to your health.

An imbalance of healthy and unhealthy microbes, also known as gut dysbiosis, can contribute to weight gain[2] and lead to diseases like inflammatory bowel disease[3] , diabetes, and other disorders.

How the gut microbiome can impact your overall health

Your gut microbiome starts to affect your body from birth. You are first exposed to microbes when you pass through your mother’s birth canal. As you grow, the gut microbiome grows with you and becomes diversified with various microbial species. The more diversified your gut microbiome is, the better it is for your health.

So, how exactly does the gut microbiome affect your body? Here are some of the different ways.

  • Helps control your immune system: Your immune system is a network of cells, chemicals, and organs that work together to protect your body against harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The gut microbiome communicates with immune cells to help control how the body responds to infection. [4] However, there is beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium.
  • Can affect weight: Gut dysbiosis is the imbalance of microbes and involves the loss of beneficial microbial input or signal. An unhealthy balance in your gut microbiome can lead to crossed signals from your brain when it comes to feeling hungry or full, leading to weight gain.[5]
  • Supports brain health: The gut microbiome produces serotonin, which is an antidepressant neurotransmitter and communicates with nerves that connect to the brain. This suggests that the gut microbiome can help control brain health. [6]
  • May affect heart health: An imbalance of microbes may contribute to heart disease. Some bacteria in the gut microbiome can produce chemicals that can cause blocked arteries, leading to strokes and heart attacks. [7]


How improving the gut microbiome can help relieve symptoms of mental health conditions

Several studies have shown a potential link between the gut microbiome and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. People with certain digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have a higher risk of these mental health conditions.

Can a healthy gut microbiome influence mental health?

It’s estimated that the gut produces 95% of serotonin, and an imbalance of serotonin levels has been linked to anxiety and depression. Chronic inflammation is often associated with depression, and the microbiome can help regulate inflammation in the body. Another way the gut microbiome can influence mental health is through the gut-brain axis, which can impact mood, behaviour and cognitive function.

How can you improve your gut microbiome?

The good news is that there are measures you can take to help make your gut microbiome healthier. You could make dietary changes and limit processed foods which contain fatty acids and ensure you get a diverse range of high-fibre and fermented foods such as sauerkraut.

Although research is ongoing to discover the relationship between the gut microbiome and mental health conditions, studies so far indicate that gut health can significantly impact your overall health. It’s important to look after your gut health not only to improve your physical health but your mental health too.




Writer and expert
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