When we say we have a gut feel, we are not just imagining it. The theory is that our gut acts as a “second brain” which is located in our solar plexus. Many studies are being conducted to better understand how the gut microbiome (made up of bacteria, fungi and viruses) can influence our thoughts and feelings.
There are about 100 trillion microbes in our gut and they can weigh up to 2kg! These organisms aid in digestion and metabolism, produce vitamins, and help keep infection at bay. Other than maintaining our gut health, these bacteria can influence our brain function as well as our mood.
Gut bacteria manufacture approximately 90% of the body’s supply of serotonin which is an important neurochemical affecting mood, digestion, and sleep. Research has found that brain chemistry can be changed by altering the balance of the bacteria found in the gut.
Gut flora may also play a role in the presence of autism, anxiety and depression. It’s not uncommon for those suffering with irritable bowel syndrome (which is seen as an overgrowth of gut bacteria), to be anxious or depressed.
Communication between the gut and the brain appears to be bidirectional. The gut send signals to the brain, and the neurotransmitters send signals to the gut. This is why we get “butterflies” in our stomach when nervous or stressed.
So keep your intestinal flora happy and they will do the same for you!♥♫