Skip to content

Does the Brain and Gut have Something in Common?

December 14, 2016


Does the Brain and Gut have Something in Common?

According to the scientific clinical research done by  Journal of Neurological Disorders

Check out clinical research

Very important to remember:

“There’s this beautiful dance that happens between the gut bacteria and your own DNA. The gut bacteria actually influenced the expression of our 23,000 genes. Think about that. The bugs that live within us are changing our genome expression moment to moment.

In 1899 two English scientists named William Bayliss and Ernest Starling were studying the gut of an anaesthetised dog when they made an intriguing observation. The physiologists had been working together to study the movements and contractions in the digestive tract, which moved food from one place to another. They had called this effect the ‘law of the intestine’ and believed that nerves were responsible for coordinating this automatic function. What was interesting in the particular dog they were studying was that when they cut communication between the gut and the central nervous system, their ‘law of the intestine’ still prevailed. In other words, Bayliss and Starling had discovered that the gut can still perform its duties if it’s not talking to the brain.

They both have their own nervous system.

The world would more or less forget about the discovery of this independently functioning nervous system for a hundred years or so and we continued along as though the brain was an all mighty dictator of bodily function and the single determinate of all things emotional. But in 1998 Michael Gershon, a Professor at Columbia University published a landmark book called The Second Brain: Your Gut Has a Mind of Its Own and the game changed.

The book was part memoir and part detailed explanation of Gershon’s discovery of the neurochemistry of what he called the second brain. The book’s publication and Gershon’s subsequent appearances on television talk shows and in mainstream magazine feature articles finally gave the remarkable second brain the notoriety it deserved. Gershon is regarded as the father of the field now known as neurogastroenterology.

Through the work of Gershon and others, we have come to understand that deep within our gut walls lies an enteric nervous system which can not only talk to our brain, but it also has the ability to act independently and can influence our behavior. In fact, about 90 percent of the signals passing along the nerve that connects your brain to your gut come not from above, but from the second brain below. Although you are not conscious of your second brain thinking and it is unlikely to ever write a sonnet or invent a rocket ship, a compelling body of research is demonstrating that the second brain has a good deal of influence on our everyday lives.

The study led by Lukas Van Oudenhove at the University of Leuven, Belgium asked a dozen healthy people to fast for 12 hours before they were injected with either saline solution or a fatty acid solution directly into their stomach. For the next 30 minutes, the researchers played them classical music and showed them emotive images on a screen while observing what happened in their brains as they lay under an FMRI scanner. They found that people given the fatty acid injection reacted less strongly to sadness. In fact their emotional responses were almost half that of the people given the saline injection. Though the study was small, it’s interesting that the results are on par with the effects of pharmacological antidepressants on mood scores. The study may explain why some of us reach for particular comfort foods during time of emotional upheaval and is another significant step towards explaining the relationship between our brain and gut as bi-directional. The brain talks to the gut and the gut talks back.

How many of you like me feel angry when you are overly hungry, when I get to a point when I am overly hungry I get very short with people, my gut tells my brain you need to eat something right now, once I do I feel great.

Does a healthy gut mean a healthy brain and an unhealthy gut means a unhealthy brain, could there be a link?

If you’ve ever “gone with your gut” to make a decision or felt “butterflies in your stomach” when nervous, you’re likely getting signals from an unexpected source: your second brain. Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this “brain in your gut” is revolutionizing medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.

Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). And it’s not so little. The ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum.

Dr. Mercola also talks about how an unhealthy gut can lead to an unhealthy brain.

Research Shows Swapping Gut Bacteria Can Reverse Type 2 Diabetes and Other Diseases

A researcher in Amsterdam, Dr. Max Nieuwdorp, has published a number of studies looking at changes in the microbiome that are characteristic of type 2 diabetes.

In one trial, he was able to reverse type 2 diabetes in all of the 250 study participants by doing fecal transplantations on them. Remarkable as it may sound, by changing the makeup of the gut bacteria, the diabetes was resolved.

Dr. Perlmutter has embraced this new information full force, and has even helped develop a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Medicus, that focuses on this kind of research. They’re also holding an annual conference to which the leading microbiome researchers in the world are invited.

In his view, and in mine, the understanding and practical adjustment and modification of the microbiome is an important part of the future of medicine. Fifteen years ago, we thought that the Human Genome Project (HGP) would allow modern medicine to leapfrog into new gene-based therapies that would solve all our ills.

That didn’t happen, as HGP discovered that genetics are only responsible for only about 10 percent of human disease,1 the rest—90 percent—are induced by environmental factors. Now we’re coming to realize that your microbiome is actually a driver of genetic expression, turning genes on and off depending on which microbes are present.

“The gut microbiome is 99 percent of the DNA in your body, and it is highly responsive and changeable based upon lifestyle choices, most importantly our food choices,” Dr. Perlmutter says.

“There’s this beautiful dance that happens between the gut bacteria and your own DNA. The gut bacteria actually influenced the expression of our 23,000 genes. Think about that. The bugs that live within us are changing our genome expression moment to moment.

Our genome has not changed over thousands of years. But now, suddenly, because we’re changing our gut bacteria, we are changing the signals that are going to our own DNA; coding now for increasing things like free radicals, oxidative stress, and inflammation. That is a powerful player in terms of so many disease processes…

Dr. Perlmutter stated being a brain specialist dealing with brain disorders, my whole career I’ve been stymied by not having really powerful tools to implement to bring about changes in individuals who have these issues. Now we’re beginning to get those tools, and they are in the gut. Who knew?

In neurology school, we didn’t study the makeup of the gut bacteria and how that would ever influence the brain, and yet, this is leading-edge science.

This is what our most well-respected researchers and peer-reviewed journals are talking about: not only are the gut bacteria fundamentally involved in brain health, but you can change the gut bacteria by interventions – taking probiotics and choosing to eat foods that are rich in prebiotics and to enhance the growth of good bacteria – and even more aggressive therapies [such as fecal transplants]”

Nourish Your Microbiome, and It Will Nourish You

Two key strategies to nourish and protect your microbiome are to limit your consumption of antibiotics to when they’re absolutely necessary, and be judicious in terms of the foods you eat. Ideally, opt for whole, raw organic, non-genetically modified (GM) foods, along with traditionally fermented and cultured foods. Good examples include fermented vegetables of all kinds, including sauerkraut and kimchi, kombucha (a fermented drink), and fiber-rich prebiotic foods like jicama (Mexican yam), Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, and dandelion greens.

Avoiding confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) meats is also important, as the animals raised in these factory farms are raised on antibiotics, which changes their microbiome as well. This routine practice also promotes antibiotic-resistant bacteria that now threaten the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year. Pesticides have also been shown to alter gut bacteria and foster drug-resist bacteria in the soil and food, so organically-grown and raised foods are really your best bet.

“These are all very relevant lifestyle choices that we can make to enhance the health and the diversity of the gut bacteria. That’s going to give us a lifelong advantage in terms of being resistant to the very diseases that we dread the most,” Dr. Perlmutter says.

“The true definition of symbiosis: we’re supporting their health and they are supporting our health. We do that by the foods that we eat. They are, as I said, commensals. We’re sharing this meal. We treat them right by eating fermented foods that are rich in probiotic bacteria and prebiotic foods that contain prebiotic types of fiber like inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS).

These are nutrients that enhance the growth of good bacteria with multitudes of studies indicating things like weight loss, a better control of blood sugar, and reduction of inflammation… One study came out just last month showing how children with allergic rhinitis and breathing issues have improvements by just giving them fiber to enhance the growth of healthy bacteria.”

The Link Between the Microbiome and Autoimmune Disease

Inflammation is a hallmark of autoimmune diseases such as MS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Crohn’s, and inflammatory bowel disease, just to name a few. As explained by Dr. Perlmutter, many of the factors that affect permeability of the blood-brain barrier are similar to those that affect the gut, which is why leaky gut can lead to neurological diseases as easily as it can manifest as some other form of autoimmune disorder.

The permeability of your gut lining can be measured by looking at a chemical called lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which is the covering over certain groups of bacteria in your gut. When you have higher levels of antibodies against LPS in the bloodstream, it’s a marker of leaky gut.

LPS is also in and of itself a powerful instigator of the inflammatory cascade. Higher levels of LPS in the blood dramatically increase inflammation throughout your body, including your brain. Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease, for example, are both correlated with dramatically elevated levels of LPS.

“In Brain Maker the book Dr. Perlmutter present pretty aggressive treatments for maintaining and restoring gut health using a variety of techniques – from using probiotic enemas to even going as far as having people get fecal transplantation. And do we see success? We sure do,” Dr. Perlmutter says.

“I have a case history in Brain Maker of a young man with MS who couldn’t walk without two canes and who underwent a series of fecal transplantations in Europe, and came back and walks without any assistance whatsoever. His videotape is linked to the book and is on our site. I use the video of this man walking when I do lectures to physicians. They look at this with their jaws hanging, because again, for you and me, this was never even a consideration in medical school…

If you did pay any attention to the gut you’d become a gastroenterologist, otherwise there’d be no interest in looking at it. But it turns out that it’s relevant whether you’re a gastroenterologist, a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a joint specialist, a skin specialist, or even a cancer specialist. We’ve got to pay attention to nurturing these bacteria if we’re going to keep people healthy.”

In his book, Dr. Perlmutter delves into seven essential keys for rehabilitating your gut, starting at birth, Brain Maker
Optimal Health and Disease Prevention Begins in Your Gut

After reading this can you now see how your gut and brain have something in common. If you have an unhealthy gut being over ran by bad gut bacteria caused by your diet and over time you end up with some type of degenerative disease in your gut, it will also affect your Brain.

Could this by why older people are having mental issues, because of all the years of eating the western diet, think about this.

What my wife and I do to get our good gut bacteria (probiotics) we eat homemade raw whole fermented organic vegetables, kombucha, kefir.

Bill & Emily Mabry 6A
Wellness Coach/CMHS


From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: