The gut-brain axis: explained

Learn about the gut-brain axis and why it is important to keep your stomach healthy for your brain to keep functioning at its best.


To follow one’s gut feeling is an age-old counsel of wisdom. However, only recently have scientists found evidence of the strong connection our brains share with our respective guts.

Although the gut-brain axis is a major area of study and interest in neuroscience, it was taken less than seriously when back in 2006 the neuroscientist Jane Foster first proposed it.

She faced multiple rejections over a number of years before her research was reviewed and published.

Foster’s research resulted in thousands of papers on the subject being published over the next decade or so.

Even with the staggering amounts of evidence already discovered, scientists and other experts in the field are still hard at work every day exploring the complex connection the brain shares with the gut.

The gut-brain connection is indeed strong, and each organ holds serious influence over the other.


Man Holding The Fat of His Tummy

What is the gut-brain axis?

Our respective guts and brains are able to communicate with each other using a highly complex network of nerves. In addition, they are biochemically linked. This nervous and biochemical network that goes from the brain to the gut helps one influence the other in terms of health and function. The intricate connection system shared by the gut and the brain is referred to as the gut-brain axis.

The gut-brain axis is a two-way connection:

As this is a relatively new field of study and the gut-brain connection is so sophisticated, it is sometimes difficult to determine if the brain or the gut is the cause of any particular issue.

Therefore, in order to keep your brain health in top shape, experts recommend ensuring that your gut microbiome is receiving attention and care.

Gut microbiome and the gut-brain axis

On average, a human body is home to trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms – collectively, they are known as the microbiome. Although bacteria are commonly associated with diseases and ill health, not all bacteria are harmful. In fact, some bacteria are quite essential for various aspects of bodily function.

The microorganisms, or microbes, like bacteria and fungi, that are found in your stomach, are referred to as the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome consists of over 1000 diverse species of good bacteria. In fact, the more diverse, the better it is for your health.

A healthy gut microbiome is very important for your gut health and, in association, your brain.

Particular species of bacteria in your gut microbiome are capable of producing chemicals that are beneficial to the brain. For instance, serotonin is produced in the gut – an antidepressant required by the brain to regulate mood.

Furthermore, according to research, the gut microbiome plays an important role in maintaining the gut-brain axis. Basically, the overall health of the nervous and biochemical connection of the gut and brain is reliant on a healthy gut microbiome.

Research has also shown that people who have psychological disorders have a different set of bacterial species in their gut microbiome compared to people without the respective psychological disorders.

Keeping the gut microbiome healthy is highly vital for the gut-brain axis and your overall wellbeing.

Food for Healthy Gut-brain Axis

Maintaining a healthy gut-brain axis

A healthy gut is the way to a healthy brain and, in turn, a healthy life. Therefore, it is vital to be mindful of what you consume. Here are some changes you can bring about in your eating habits to sustain a healthy gut-brain axis:

While it is important always to maintain a healthy and diverse diet, not just for your gut-brain axis but for your overall wellbeing, it is also vital to keep tabs on how your body is functioning. For that, you can use VIVO Clinic’s General Health MOT.

The blood test will help you identify where your body requires the most attention and what you may be able to do to improve your health.




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