The gut-brain connection is an emerging field in health research. Scientists like saying that you actually have a brain in your gut. In fact, it is quite important – it has a huge impact on your immune system, feelings, mood and memory. Scientists from RMIT University in Australia listed 5 things that you should know about your gut brain and its impact on the brain in your head.
1. Your gut brain is actually quite big
Neurons in your brain are quite similar to those in your head. And this system is quite big – it is as big as the spinal cord. Interestingly, the same mutations that impact your actual brain, can be observed in your gut brain. The enteric nervous system in many ways is very similar to the brain in your head. And you just have to accept it – you have a gut brain, which is quite big and significant. How significant?
2. It affects your feelings
Gut bacteria is affecting the enteric nervous system. In fact, numerous studies have shown that the condition of micro flora in your gut has a significant impact on your emotions and mood. So when people say “It’s all in your head”, they may actually be wrong – it could be all in your gut.
3. It contributes to various neurodevelopmental disorders
Scientists are not exactly sure how, but the enteric nervous system is actually involved in conditions like autism and dementia. Scientists, who were researching Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and other disorders found significant changes in the microbes in the gut. However, the connection is not yet fully understood.
4. We know almost nothing about it
Scientists love knowing about stuff. However, the enteric nervous system is still, for the most part, a mystery. In fact, we only recently found out about our gut brain in the first place. Then we found that it is very important. And now we have to improve this knowledge to cure diseases.
Most of our knowledge about the enteric nervous system is based on research with animal models. This is really not ideal as humans are very much different from, let’s say, mice. The problem is that not only we know almost nothing about our gut brain, we also don’t have methods of researching it. However, growing interest in the subject should soon change that.
5. We do know that our brain interacts with our gut microbes
So we already established that you have a tonne of microbes in your gut and they are very important for your health. Scientists think that the enteric nervous system is how our brain interacts with these microbes. In fact, it has significant implications on our immune system. Scientists think that this could be the connection between our nervous and immune systems.