A survey showed that nearly 40% of adults suffer from functional gastrointestinal disorders. This survey included 73,000 participants from over 33 countries.
Gut-related issues are becoming more and more common among adults. This is a mystery to many people, but it can often be linked back to diet, stress, and lifestyle factors.
To resolve these issues, it is important to understand how the brain and gut communicate. The gut-brain axis can often explain what is causing gut issues and how you can fix them.
Keep reading to find out more about how the gut and brain communicate.
How Are the Gut and Brain Connected?
If you have never heard about the gut-brain axis, you may not know how this applies to you. This term explains the communication network between your gut and brain.
These two organs are closely connected and impact your health. How your brain communicates with your gut impacts your overall gut health.
This can be hard to understand since it doesn’t seem like these two things would communicate. You can think of it as an example of feeling butterflies in your stomach.
An explanation for this feeling is that your brain is communicating with your gut. When you are nervous or excited this emotion is then transferred to your gut.
You may also experience an upset stomach if you're stressed out, this is an emotion impacting your gut. This is a type of two-way communication that flows between the central nervous system.
Vagus Nerve and Nervous System
The vagus nerve is one of the biggest nerves that's used to connect your gut and brain. This nerve sends signals in both directions to create different effects.
This creates full-body communication since your brain and got contains neurons. Studies have shown that people with an overactive vagus nerve experience gut issues.
Animal studies have also shown this effect, revealing the vagus nerve's role in stress symptoms.
The gut and brain may be far away from each other but they're connected by neurotransmitters. These are chemicals produced in the brain that control your emotions and feelings.
Many of these neurotransmitters are also produced by your gut. For instance, a part of your serotonin is created in the gut, this is the chemical that creates happiness.
Because the brain and gut produce neurotransmitters, it makes sense that they would have close communication.
Something else that your gut produces is gut microbes. These microbes are also responsible for creating chemicals that affect your brain health.
They also metabolize amino and bile acids that produce other chemicals that impact your brain. These are all small things that connect your brain and gut, creating a complex link between the two.
With all of this information, it is very clear that how your brain is functioning will affect how your gut is functioning. That is why you must focus on your gut health and brain health for overall health.
Foods That Help the Gut-Brain Axis
Now that you know how the gut and brain communicate, you may be wondering how you can aid this. After all, if you have gut issues, it is very likely that something is going wrong.
One way that many people counteract this is to take probiotics. These are live bacteria that are shown to improve mental health and gut-related symptoms.
There are also different foods that you can add to your diet if your focus is on healthy living. Things like omega-3 fats help increase good bacteria and reduce the risk of brain disorders.
Like probiotics, fermented foods also aid in how your gut functions. Fermented foods may even have the ability to alter your brain activity and gut-brain axis.
You should also aim to eat plenty of high-fiber foods daily. Polyphenol-rich foods and tryptophan-rich foods are also important for gut and brain health.
If you are concerned about your bodily communication, your diet is the easiest place to make adjustments. If you don’t know where to start, you could always discuss this with your doctor or a nutritionist.
How the Gut Impacts Brain Health
Something that people may not realize is how your gut functions can impact your mental health. Imbalances in microorganisms in your gut can have mental health side effects.
This effect is called dysbiosis and has been linked to depression. Without a balance of these microorganisms, the inflammatory response in your gut is activated.
Because your gut communicates with your brain, this can create inflammation in the brain as well. Your gut microbiota can also have an impact on anxiety symptoms that you may feel.
That being said, your brain health also impacts your gut health. For instance, if you have migraines, you often have gut-related symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting.
Stress is often associated with gut issues as it can trigger nausea, bloating, and pain. Stress can even cause you to vomit as your brain is communicating these feelings to your gut.
Most people have already experienced this in some way, as their emotional well-being impacts how their stomach feels. Over time, this could create chronic gut issues if not treated.
Stimulating the Vagus Nerve for Better Gut Health
As you now know, the vagus nerve is very important regarding how the brain communicates with the gut. Because of this, you may be able to regain more control by controlling the vagus nerve.
An implantable vagus nerve stimulator is something that is often used to treat severe depression. But this is usually reserved for severe cases only.
You can try to create the same effect by including certain lifestyle factors. This could include calming practices like yoga and meditation.
Both of these options are shown to stimulate the vagus nerve and create more positive feelings. They also help to soothe anxiety or stress, reducing its impact on your gut health.
Hypnotherapy is another valid option that can increase vagal tone. This is a mind-body intervention that helps with this connection between your brain and gut.
Cold water immersion is another very popular option linked to the vagus nerve. Many people plunge into cold water to activate this nerve and to become more mindful.
Other Ways to Improve Gut and Brain Health
If you have found this bodily communication information useful, you may want more tips. The good news is that there are many ways you can improve the communication between your gut and brain.
Many people are able to achieve this with just a few lifestyle changes. If you already want to dive into healthy living, this will be a great motivator.
One way to help your gut-brain axis is to take supplements on a daily basis. If you are not getting all the nutrients you need or eating a balanced diet, this can be an alternative.
It can be hard to eat every food group to reach your nutritional goals. The good news is that there are options like supergreen and mushroom gummies that help to improve your health.
These are affordable and offer the convenience of simply grabbing one every morning. This makes eating healthy simpler and more achievable for people from all walks of life.
As you now know, stress can have a huge impact on your gut and brain. The problem is that most people are in a constant state of stress.
Modern-day life is very stressful and requires that we are always on the go. This creates a fight or flight response that puts you in a constant state of being alert and on guard.
One way you can take better care of your brain and gut health is to try to turn this response off. Try to practice mindfulness and analyze why you feel the way that you feel.
Maybe there are certain stressors that you can remove from your life. Or you can take up habits that help to counteract the stress that you are unable to reduce.
You can even talk to a therapist if you believe that you are chronically stressed. This is a mental health issue that is going to start showing physical symptoms.
How the Gut and Brain Communicate
If you are starting your healthy living journey, you may be wondering about how your brain and gut communicate. The gut-brain axis is very important if you want to start feeling better in your body.
Do you want to start living a healthier life and develop better habits? Contact us today at Nummies for access to high-quality gummies to improve your overall health.