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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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.

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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The brain and the gut are linked and in constant communication, and about 100 million nerve cells reside in the gut.

Gut bacteria produce dopamine and similar neurotransmitters that are critical for mood, anxiety, concentration, and motivation, explaining why stomach disorders upset our mood and emotions.

You are a Superorganism

We have always thought of ourselves as an organism. New studies point towards us being Superorganisms, with many organisms teaming up to become what we define as 'us'.

There are trillions of bacteria, virii, and fungi in our stomach, skin, and tissues, and they are collectively known as your Microbiome.

Hormones and Neurotransmitters

Hormones are chemicals produced by various glands, called the endocrine system, whose primary function is to communicate between two glands or between a gland and an organ focusing on: mood regulation, pleasure, pain relief etc.

Neurotransmitters are like hormones but they are produced in the brain and send messages using the nervous system.

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