- Brain and Body Wellness Center
It All Start Before You Are Born
You actually born with two nervous systems both created from identical tissue during fetal development and connected together via the vagus nerve that runs from your brain stem all the way down to your abdomen. One of your nervous systems turned into the central nervous system which includes the brain and spinal cord, the other nervous system turned into the enteric (internal) nervous system of your gastrointestinal tract.
The vagus nerve is the main route your gut microbiome (collection of microorganisms that includes bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi) use to transmit information to your brain. That’s right your gut actually sends far more information to your brain than your brain sends to your gut. So if you think that your brain is in charge, it is not, your gut is. And rightfully so because on the cell level we are outnumbered by the microorganisms inhabiting the GI tract. There are 10 times more bacterial (microbiome) cells than the number of human cells, in addition to over 100 times more the amount of genetic material than the human genome. In fact, you could say that we are more bacterial than we are human. Think about that one for a moment.
It makes sense then, that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental, emotional and physical health.
Neurons (nerve calls) in your brain, as well as in your gut produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, in fact greatest concentration (about 95%) of serotonin (feel good brain chemical), which is involved in mood control, anxiety, depression and social behavior, is found in your intestines, not your brain. This might be one reason why antidepressants, which raise serotonin levels in your brain, are often ineffective in treating depression.
Where does the gut microbiome come from, what does it do, and why do we have it?
We have just begun to understand the overwhelming extent of the role gut microbiomes play in how we feel, sleep, behave, and how healthy or sick we are. When your gut is unhealthy and not functioning well, you can become unhealthy, malnourished, have multiple nutrient deficiencies and food intolerances.
Babies are born with almost sterile bodies and almost sterile digestive systems. During birth, as the baby goes through the birth canal, it swallows the first mouthfuls of bacteria and that becomes the baby’s gut flora.
Babies that are born by c-section or to mothers with unhealthy gut microbiome (flora) are more likely to develop unhealthy gut bacteria, that may be a predictor of future mental, emotional and physical health problems.
The imbalance in gut bacteria during a child's early development will permanently alter genes and signaling pathways involved in learning, memory, and motor control.
Gut flora has a profound influence on the development and maturation of the immune system after birth. About 80% of your immune system is located in your gut so you can’t have a healthy immune system without a healthy gut. And without a healthy immune system, you are susceptible to autoimmune disease, infections and inflammation.
Gut microbiome (flora) is vital to human life, without it we will not survive. It protects us from infections and harmful toxic elements by neutralizing them.
The bacterial layer that covers the entire digestive tract acts as a physical barrier to protect us against viruses, parasites, toxins, and undigested food.
Healthy gut microbiomes produce every antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral substance we need, thus protecting us from constant assault from pathogenic microbes coming from the outside environment. Our stools contain over 90% of bacterias, and as they are eliminated they take toxins out.
Gut microbes play an active role in digestion and absorption of food we eat by producing enzymes that break down proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fiber.
Minerals, vitamins and other nutrients get transported through the gut wall into the bloodstream so we don't get deficient in those vital nutrients.
When the gut microbiome is out of balance due to extended use of antibiotics, prescription medications or other assaults, we become deficient in B vitamins. Therefore vitamin B deficiency is a clear indication that the gut flora is out of balance.
Gut microbes play an important role in autoimmune conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes. It influences immune function through balance of the regulatory T cells known as Th1 and Th2 immunity. The role of Th1 immunity is to fight infections in the skin, mucous membranes, and cells. When the gut flora is damaged, the production and function of Th1 cells becomes dysfunctional, allowing more assaults on your body. In turn the body overcompensates with Th2 which predispose you to have allergic reactions, chronic inflammation, and autoimmunity.
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