Gut instinct: how your diet shapes your mind
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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".
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.
Studies show there is less microbial diversity in the intestines of an individual with depression.
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