A primal connection exists between our brain and our gut. We often talk about a “gut feeling” when we meet someone for the first time. We’re told to “trust our gut instinct” when making a difficult decision or that it’s “gut check time” when faced with a situation that tests our nerve and determination. This mind-gut connection is not just metaphorical. Our brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback about how hungry we are, whether or not we’re experiencing stress, or if we’ve ingested a disease-causing microbe.
The Scientific American article quoted above breaks it down so elegantly – the gut is our “second brain” and scientists discover more daily how much of our health it influences.
Enteric Nervous System
This “second brain” is called the enteric nervous system and it affects many of our bodily functions including immune health, nutrient absorption and vitamin production, feelings of hunger or satiety (fullness), and how you utilize carbohydrates and fat. It also affects neurotransmitter production; neurotransmitters transmit signals between nerve cells and other cells.
Links have also been found between brain health and gut health. Specifically that gut health can affect mood, libido, mental clarity, and even perceptions of the world around us. Research is showing that an unhealthy gut could be the cause of headaches, inability to concentrate, anxiety, and negative thoughts.
In my work as a neurologist, I’ve discovered that no other system in the body is more sensitive to changes in gut bacteria than the central nervous system. What’s more — and this is the good news — I have seen dramatic turnarounds in brain-related conditions with simple dietary modifications and, on occasion, with more-aggressive techniques to reestablish a healthy microbiome.
Good News – Probiotics!
The microbiome is the thousands of microscopic life forms that live on and in our bodies – in fact, they outnumber our own cells 10 to 1! Don’t worry though, they are mostly here to help us and many are actually essential for life. Our cooperation with microbes has been around since the beginning; we give them a protected, nutrient-rich habitat and they give us the benefit of their genes.
There are tens of trillions of microorganisms in our gut. This includes at least 1000 different species of known bacteria. Remember, not all bacteria are bad; some are good (probiotics) and are vital to optimal health. These microorganisms are busy helping us regulate functions like:
- Nutrition – extracting nutrients, controlling metabolism and nutrient storage, and producing some vitamins.
- Immunity – reducing inflammation and training the immune system to distinguish good from bad bacteria.
- And More – maintenance of protective barriers, organ development, and protection from toxins
Increasing the number and variety of probiotics can help with gut health. That’s why Univera offers AloeDophilus®. It’s an advanced probiotic that can help replenish ‘friendly’ bacterial cultures. Taken regularly, it fortifies the natural digestive system.*
The Prebiotic-Probiotic Relationship
At Univera, we also speak of the benefits of Aloe for our digestive health. When we speak of Aloe in relation to probiotics, we are referring to the prebiotics it contains which help probiotics flourish.
So, what about that prebiotic-probiotic relationship? Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics – it’s that simple. Aloe is a prebiotic so it supports and enhances the work all those good bacteria are doing by helping them. It’s good nutrition for probiotics – and we know how important nutrition is.
Reference for microbiome information: University of Utah Health Sciences, learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/microbiome/