In short, the answer is YES! We have TWO BRAINS!
Cutting edge research is currently ongoing, however the latest in a series of studies have demonstrated time and again that we have brain cells in our large intestine.
This new brain discovery has sparked lots of interest, and research can’t come quick enough but it’s still in the very early stages of its development. Despite that, neuroscientists and gastrointestinal scientists have already discovered so much.
You may find it fascinating to know that the neurotransmitter dubbed fondly as our “happy hormone”, Serotonin, is now known to have 90% of its production occur in our gut. On top of this other neurotransmitters directly related to our mood have also been found to be produced down there too.
The findings are incredible and have really opened up a whole new world of questions, even discovering that beliefs of the past were mistaken. For example, SSRI’s a family of antidepressants were always assumed to have been working firmly in our brains. Recent research, however, has shown that it’s our digestive tract where all the action is taking place.
We’ve also had research that demonstrates correlations between people with conditions such as schizophrenia, autism and bi-polar disorder and gastrointestinal disorders. On top of that, there has always been assumptions that anxiety and depression caused conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. However, the latest research is investigating whether it’s actually the other way round.
This is incredible research for impacting on the world of mental health. If so much of our mood is controlled in our gut, we can begin to truly help ourselves naturally through considering what food it is we put in our guts.
Studies have looked into the differences between our brain and our gut brain and they have also discovered that the two are connected by something called the gut-brain-axis. So, one can influence the other.
Ever had butterflies in your tummy? That’s your gut brain working! Research now shows that the chemicals that are produced in response to fear, are released in the gut.
There haven’t been too many studies yet but this study demonstrated a clear difference that probiotics had a great impact in reducing symptoms of major depressive disorder for participants using it every day for 8 weeks.
All in all, I’ve really enjoyed researching this topic. It’s clear that research is in it’s early stages. However, there’s already so much we can all be doing already to help our mood through balancing what we eat. You’re always welcome to get in touch with me for a free 20 minute initial consultation over the phone. All my services and fees can be found here.
If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, you may find it helpful to take a little bit of time out to look at your current food intake. I have a five-day challenge Creating a Kinder Relationship with Food on Monday 21st October 2019. If you’d like to take a peek you can still sign up here to catch the videos.