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Tag: brain health

It Really Is A Gut Feeling

The feelings you experience are related to the health of your gut.  As our understanding of the microbiome evolves, new understanding of the gut-brain link is unfolding.  

The link between the gut and the brain, known as the microbiome-gut-brain axis., is a two way communication system.  Researchers are asking:  do the bacteria in our gut affect our psychology and behavior? 

The trillion single-cell organisms that reside in the intestines creating the microbiome influences our health in a variety of ways.  Recent discoveries reveal that the microbiome is involved in the synthesis of vitamins B and K; the production of short-chain fatty acids; inflammatory and autoimmune conditions as well as obesity.

Those minuscule creatures that lie in different parts of your gut, most of them sitting at the mucus layer just on top of your gut surface.   That allows them to be just microns away from receptors and sensors with which your gut records the chatter that goes on between them and measures what does on inside.  So the microbes know what state of mind you are in, and at the same time, our brain knows the signs that microbes send up to us.  The chatter between the brain in the gut is cross-talk with a huge impact on our immune system, hormones, mood and behavior.

 Most of us have experienced the relationship between stress, anxiety and a soft bowel movement…the brain impacting the gut.  However, studies, also, show a relationship between gut dysregulation impacting anxiety and depression.  Other studies have shown that  gluten-induced gut inflammation can show up in images of brain inflammation. Lastly, the majority of serotonin (a neurotransmitter related to emotional well-being) is produced in the digestive system.

Bottom line:  the cross-talk chatter between the brain and the gut depends on the health of the digestive system.  Improving the quality of your emotional life and cognitive function requires attention to the health of your gut.

Run for Your Neurons

Another?  new study on the benefits of exercise? Yes!  A new study with mice finds that physical activity not only increases the quantity of new neurons in the brain, but are qualitatively different than other neurons.

We know that the brain is a dynamic, active organ in which new neurons and neural connections are created throughout life, especially in the areas of the brain related to memory and thinking.

In this study, the neurons created by cardiovascular activity looked unique.  They ware larger, displayed more and longer dendrites after only one week of exercise than brain cells from inactive mice.

Although this study was conducted with mice and not people, it’s a good bet that any physical activity that raises your heart rate for 20 minutes benefits the brain just as cardiovascular activity does for all the other organs.

Remember next time the sofa looks more appealing than putting on your running shoes think about all of those new, high-quality neurons that are going to interact on your behalf to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

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