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Gut Health

What is Gut Brain Axis?

What is Gut Brain Axis?
Writer and expert2 years ago
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Can the bacteria in our gut affect our brain function?

The connection between our brain and our gut is already part of how we describe experiences – having a “gut-feeling” a “gut-wrenching” moment or feeling nervous with “butterflies” in the stomach. These expressions have become commonplace for a reason. We now know there is a connection between our brain and our gut. Scientists call this connection the gut-brain axis – the two-way dialogue between the brain and the gut where information flows between the two organs.

There are three main communication channels between the brain and the gut:

  1. the nervous system
  2. the immune system
  3. the endocrine system (hormones)

A key physical link that relays the information between the gut and the brain is the vagus nerve. This nerve relays information using molecules called neurotransmitters (chemical messengers). Approximately 80-90% of nerve fibres in the vagus nerve are going from the gut to the brain.

What role can specific gut bacteria play in the gut-brain axis?

Evidence shows that bacteria (also known as microbes) in the gut can act on the gut-brain axis and hence influence gut-brain communications.

The gut produces more than 90% of the serotonin found in your body – this is a neurotransmitter that can affect your mood and feelings of happiness and pleasure and research has shown that gut bacteria can impact its production in the gut.

Current research indicates that a gut with a healthy microbiota is a strong predictor of health and wellbeing.

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