Friday, 18 July 2014

What is the Gut-Mind Connection? (Part 2)

You can read Part 1 here.

What is the Scientific Evidence for a Gut-Mind Connection?

There is too much scientific research  and support for a gut-mind connection for me to express all that has been found. What I intend to do is give you a few main points and then head you in the direction of further research if you so wish to investigate this further for yourself.

The MINDD foundation reports that: 

  • “During foetal development the brain and gut originate from the same tissue.” 
  • “70% of the neurotransmitters in the brain are also in the gastrointestinal tract which means that the gut actually acts independently of the brain to help us learn, remember and respond to ‘gut feelings’.”
  • “Neurotransmitters in the gut regulate mood, appetite, bowel function, sleep, muscle contraction, attention, movement, cognition, memory and learning.”
  • “Poor diet or a poor functioning digestive system can impact on the production of all neurotransmitters.”
  • “80% of our immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract.”

Harvard Medical School puts it another way:

  • “The brain and the gastrointestinal system are intimately connected - so intimately that they should be viewed as one system.”

Dr Mercola reports:

  • “While many think of their brain as the organ in charge, your gut actually sends far more information to your brain than your brain sends to your gut.”

  • “Problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression.”

  • “Probiotics (beneficial bacteria) indeed altered the brain function in participants.”

  • “Probiotics are so crucial to your health that researchers have compared them to a ‘newly recognised organ’.”

  • “Probiotics have also been found to influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease fighting manner”.

  • "Considering the fact that an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, reseeding your gut with healthy bacteria is important for the prevention of virtually ALL diseases, from colds to cancer."

What are the Implications for us?

According to Dr Mercola there are quite a few implications for us:
  • Avoid processed, refined foods.
  • Eat traditionally fermented, unpasturized foods often.
  • Avoid chlorinated and or fluoridated water.
  • Avoid antibacterial soap
  • Avoid agricultural chemicals
  • Avoid GMO and non-organic meats
  • Avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.

Well, those are Dr Mercola's recommendations and the recommendations of many other doctors I have read. As a Mother, I desire to love my husband and children as best as I can because I believe it honours Jesus when I do so. The other application I can see is that Jesus calls us to " Love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength". If something improves my mind and strength and my ability to love Jesus with my mind and strength then that is something we are called to do.

We have applied all the recommendations I have listed here over the last year or so  with good results. We have a small serve of a probiotic with each meal and I attempt to provide a variety of probiotics so that we can have a good range of beneficial gut flora. We have found that not only does it keep us very healthy, but also there is a lot more peace in the household as everyone is just way more calm these days! (There's still room for improvement. :) )

In closing, I would like to encourage you to continually ask Jesus to guide you in how you can love Him more with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.


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