How Gut Health is the Key for Body & Mind
A major piece of the puzzle has been left out of the equation of mental, physical and even emotional health in your wellbeing, and that is the health of the ‘second brain’ your gut.
The gut – or gastrointestinal tract to use its proper name – has long been seen as a mere digestive organ, yet reams of new research is showing the gut to have a major influence on your mood, mentality and ability to fight disease, heal from trauma and build muscle.
Gut Health: Gut Microbiome
New research is showing how nutrition and diet have a profound impact on microbial composition in the gut, in turn affecting a range of metabolic, hormonal, and neurological processes.
Human gastrointestinal microbiota (also known as gut flora or gut microbiota) are microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans and have a major influence on your health.
This is where the better-known notions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria come from, and why fermented products such as kombucha and kimchee have become so popular of late as they contain a wealth of good bacteria for your gut.
Researchers at Oregon State University have already made important advances in understanding the roles that gut bacteria play in human health, learning the mechanisms by which gut microbes affect the health of their hosts.
The research opens the door to the development of professional treatment based purely on gut health.
Gut Health & Mental Health
Studies have also shown how poor gut health is a common factor in people diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
Other studies have found that anxiety symptoms can be helped by taking steps to regulate the microorganisms in their gut using probiotics and non-probiotic food and supplements.
Increasingly, research has indicated that gut microbiota can help regulate brain function through something called the “gut-brain axis.”
Recent research also suggests that mental disorders could be treated by regulating the intestinal microbiota, but there is no specific evidence to support this.
More recently, scientists have shown that transplanting gut bacteria could be the key to healing human psychiatric disorders such as depression.
Gut Health & Muscle Gains
Microorganisms living in the intestines could be vital to muscle growth and function, opening new doors to interventions for skeletal muscle loss, according to recent research.
Through a series of strength and movement-related exercises conducted on mice, researchers found that mice with gut microbes had stronger skeletal muscles that can produce more energy when compared to mice without any gut microbes, known as germ-free mice.
A new UC San Francisco study also showed that the brain communicates with the gut in order to regulate water composition in the body.
This further highlights the interaction between gut and brain in regulating the physical framework of the body.