The Gut-Brain Axis is a term used for the communication network between the gut and the brain. These two organs are connected physically and biochemically in numerous ways.
There are approx. 100 billion neurons in the human brain, telling your body how to behave. There are 500 million in your gut which are connected to the brain through the nerves in your nervous system. One of the biggest being the vagus nerve which sends messages between the gut and the brain and vice versa.
Your gut and brain are also connected through neurotransmitters. These chemicals are produced in the brain and control our feelings and emotions. E.g. Serotonin contributes to feelings of happiness and helps control your body clock. The gut also creates a large amount of these neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is produced in your gut microbes and helps control feelings of fear and anxiety. Certain probiotics can increase the production of GABA and reduce anxiety and depression-like behaviour.
When we feel stressed or nervous, anxiety in the gut sends that information to the brain via the vagus highway. If we are dealing with mental stress and negative thoughts that are causing us to worry or become full of self-talk that is highly critical, the brain can also send those signals to the gut.
Tension affects the whole digestive system interrupting its natural flow of processing food, bowel function, and whole-body reactions that will be personalised to what we are thinking and feeling.
Therefore, maintaining balance in our good gut bacteria is essential. It alters our food and life choices, alters our mood, brain activity, cognitive function, memory and learning, anxiety, depression, autism and so much more.