Gut instinct: how your diet shapes your mind - Deepstash
Gut instinct: how your diet shapes your mind

Gut instinct: how your diet shapes your mind

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What you eat affects your mind

What you eat affects your mind

Modern science suggests that the gut may play a role in mood disorders and our mental health.

The gut is covered in nerve cells, or neurons, which are foundational to our brains. This network in our gut is known as the enteric nervous system or "second brain".


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How the gut affects the brain

The gut plays a central role in providing the brain with neurochemicals, such as serotonin. One main pathway between the brain and the gut is the vagus nerve. About 80% of these nerve fibres are signalling from the gut to the brain, and only 20% is the other way around.

Much of the information comes from gut microbes, which is influenced by diet and stress. The large intestine act as a fermentation organ and is heavily populated with microbes. The microbes break down fibres producing substances that are linked to positive health outcomes.


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A good diet = good microbiota = healthy brain

Studies show there is less microbial diversity in the intestines of an individual with depression.

  • Patients with depression have less of a particular type of bacteria called bacteroides, which produces a vital chemical GABA. If the brain does not get enough GABA, it can lead to increased anxiety and insomnia.
  • A poor diet decrease the bacteria called bifidobacteria in our gut, which is responsible for breaking down the amino acid tryptophan - a vital building block for serotonin.


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