Some of us know that gut-brain connection, when we are stressed and feel those butterflies in our stomach.
There are physical and biochemical connections between the brain and the gut.
- Lymphatic system: There is a direct connection between the gut and brain through the lymphatic system. About 80% of the lymphatic system is housed in the digestive tract. The lymphatic system clears waste from our tissues, it is a major part of our immune system and acts as a secondary circulatory system. A new discovery has recently been made that has found lymphatic vessels directly connecting the lymphatic system to the brain. This means that if there are toxins or chemicals getting into the lymphatic system from the digestive tract, then the central nervous system can be vulnerable to circulating toxins, and can affect brain function. This shows the link between digestive health, our immune system and brain health through the lymphatic system.
- Neurotransmitters – 90% of your serotonin is manufactured in the mucous membranes that line your digestive tract. Serotonin travels into the blood stream, pass the blood-brain barrier and is a major building block or our neurotransmitters, playing a role in moods such as depression and anxiety, sleep-wake cycles
- Glymphatic system – waste clearance pathway of the brain through the cerebral spinal fluid which flows through the entire nervous system. This system elicits self-cleaning mechanisms during our sleeping hours, specifically during our deep sleep.
- Vagal nerve – cranial nerve that connects to digestive tract. It is controlled by our autonomic nervous system.
- Microbiome – Human study: examined composition of fecal microbiota in 46 patients with depression and 30 healthy controls. In patients with depression, increased population of proinflammatory bad bacteria and decreased population of good bacteria. Inflammation in the gut can lead to neuroinflammation, inflammation in the brain.
Therefore, if we have any issues with the brain from brain fog to mental health issues or you want to prevent or treat dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease, then you need to evaluate the digestive tract, clean up the gut and balance the microbiome.