Gut and Brain Health Connection

A team of scientists discovered that certain gene regulators in the brain – called microRNAs – play a key roll in anxiety-type illness and behaviour and are affected by bacteria levels in the gut.

Gut microbes appear to influence miRNAs in two specific parts of the brain – the amygdala, which is commonly associated with experiencing emotions, and the prefrontal cortex, which plays a role in personality development.

Brain Gut Health

This is important because these miRNAs may affect physiological processes that are fundamental to the functioning of the central nervous system and in brain regions, such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, which are heavily implicated in anxiety and depression.

miRNAs are a short sequence of nucleotides – which are the building blocks of DNA and RNA – that control how genes are expressed.

When they don’t function properly, it’s thought miRNAs contribute significantly to stress-related psychiatric disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and neurodevelopmental abnormalities.

So changes in how certain genes are expressed in the brain are caused by miRNAs and can be linked to anxiety-like behaviors.

Studies have suggested that some of the hurdles that stand in the way of exploiting the therapeutic potential of miRNAs could be cleared by instead targeting the gut microbiome.

The gut microbiome refers to the population of bacteria and other microbes in the intestine that is unique to each person.

A team of scientists discovered that certain gene regulators in the brain – called microRNAs – play a key roll in anxiety-type illness and behaviour and are affected by bacteria levels in the gut.

This study, done by the University of Cork, is one in a growing body of data on gut bacteria and physical and mental health.

Pharmaceutical and wellness companies have noticed, and have been marketing probiotics said to improve general physical and mental health for years already.

We already know that diet is one of the factors affecting microbiome composition (the other factors being childbirth, age, type of contact with animals, environment, antibiotics, and level of physical activity) since it alters both the type of bacterial families and their diversity.

By maintaining a healthy gut you are working to preserve your physical, mental and emotional health.  If you want to improve the way your brain functions, and your mental or emotional state, then your gut is the most important starting point.  Show your gut a bit love, live a healthy lifestyle and you’re well on your way to solving your health problems.  Look at the withdrawals and Deposits below, add up which ones relate to you and this will provide some indication of how your health is tracking.

Your health is a product of each and every choice you make day-to-day.

Healthy Deposits into Your Body

  • Deep, restful sleep
  • 2-3litres of water each day
  • Plenty of healthy fats each day
  • Low sugar diet
  • 2-3 servings green leafy vegetables each day
  • Fresh organic foods daily
  • Exercise 4-7 days/week
  • Regular meditation
  • Stretching and moving daily
  • Minim alcohol
  • Live and work in a smoke free environment
  • Chemical free cleaning & personal care products.

Withdrawals From Your Body

  • Less than 7hrs sleep/broken sleep
  • 2 plus coffees per day
  • Margarine and processed vegetable oils
  • Processed sugar or fruit juice each day
  • Fast food 1+ times p/week
  • Processed packaged foods daily
  • Exercise less than 1 time p/week
  • Experience daily stress
  • Sitting for 6-8 hrs + p/day
  • 6+ alcoholic drinks per week
  • Smoke
  • Chemical based cleaning and personal care products

Sources:  Daily Mail UK, Love Your Gut: Sally Joseph

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