The Gut Microbiome and Brain Health
The microbes that live inside your gut are very important for your health, even brain health! These three trillion organisms help to metabolize food, make nutrients available, and even send messages to the brain! We desperately need these organisms to be the healthy beneficial types of bacteria, or “probiotics”. Healthy gut bacteria promote health and do not trigger the immune system in the gut to overreact and cause inflammation. If you experience bloating and fatigue after a meal it may indicate that your microbiome is not as healthy as it could be.
Gut health is directly related to immune system function. A healthy microbiome allows for a healthier more balanced immune system that protects you from invaders while not overreacting to harmful bacteria in the gut. Poor gut health can be the cause of so many diseases including autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, and dementia! These microbes can actually also influence our mood by the neurotransmitters they create and secrete into the gut itself.
Acquiring a Healthy Microbiome
So, how does one acquire a healthy microbiome? It begins at birth!
The microbes that you are exposed to during the birth process help to populate the gut with healthy beneficial flora that stay with you throughout life. Being exposed to frequent antibiotics or being born via Cesarean section can actually impair your microbiome. An impaired, or suboptimal microbiome may result in overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis can trigger the immune system in the gut wall and may cause a condition called “leaky gut” or gut permeability. This gut permeability can create inflammation in the gut lining. Leaky gut can also trigger blood brain barrier leaking through a molecule called zonulin that is increased in leaky gut.
The Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics
Many of my patients ask, “what is more important- prebiotics or probiotics?” The answer is of course both! Prebiotics are the fibers and foods that the microbiome use as food. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in the gut. So healthy prebiotic foods help to grow a healthy probiotic population of bacteria. These “pro” bacteria keep our immune system calmer and also help make certain B vitamins and even neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. What we eat will grow different types of bacteria in our gut that then can make different neurotransmitters. Certain bacteria like Clostridia may make more nor-epinephrine and trigger more anxiety. If we eat more sugar we may get yeast overgrowth or overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria. When we take antibiotics we may kill off certain types of bacteria that then can be replaced with probiotics. It is important to maintain a healthy diet to maintain a healthy microbiome.
How can you improve your microbiome?
- Eating a healthy diet full of different fibers and vegetables as prebiotic foods
- Taking probiotics and even perhaps rotating types
- Drinking filtered, non-chlorinated water out of glass not plastic
- Avoiding pesticides and herbicides in foods
- Avoid antibiotics when possible
- Avoid Sugar and simple carbohydrates- Sugar also can promote the growth of yeast which is very triggering for the immune system.
- Avoid Round-up or glyphosate has very detrimental effects on the microbiome – eat non-GMO foods
- Purchasing organic food when possible www.ewg.org
- Eating plenty of rich leafy green fiber which support the growth of health gut bacteria
- Eating a diverse array of healthy fruits and vegetables
So, healing the gut is so important for your health and prevention of disease! Start eating for a healthy brain today!
Contact us at Kessmann Clinics to begin your healing journey today! 817-912-1289 or email us at [email protected]
Disclaimer- none of this information is intended to treat or diagnose any disease or medical condition. If you are having issues please always discuss with your personal healthcare professionals.
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