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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Brain-Gut Revolution...Are You Hip?

The age-old wisdom of a connection between the brain and the gut is returning to popular acceptance...Here is what we are doing to take advantage of this conventional wisdom...

picture of brain connection to gut

Quick Summary: There is a connection between our digestive system and the health of our brain. Imbalances in the ecology of the digestive system create disturbances in brain functions. Laboratory research is helping to bring this connection back to popular acceptance. This article gives background information on this brain-gut connection. It also gives the first steps we have taken to apply this ancient wisdom. Are you hip?


Laboratory Mice are Hip to It... Changes in the gut bacterial balance (inner ecology) of mice cause changes in their mood and behavior.

picture of a mouse with a smile
Happy Mouse
Probiotics Aid Brain and Mood Functions in Mice Introducing probiotics (good bacteria) into the gut (small intestines) of mice can make them more relaxed, more confident and happier.

For Decades, Healers Have Looked at Digestive Imbalances When Addressing Mental Health Imbalances...Healers have for decades been recommending regimens that focus on healing intestinal imbalances as a first step toward correcting mental health disturbances. Those regimens always include some method to improve the probiotic (positive bacteria) balance of the digestive system. The digestive system is our inner "composting system" and can be compared to the soil of the outer ecological system. Just as soil becomes unbalanced and depleted--yielding poor quality nutritional foodstuff as a result--so too, our inner "soil" can fall into the same state...

picture of man holding his head
When it does so, it cannot yield the proper nutrients necessary to run the brain. We then experience what modern medicine calls "mental health disturbances."

The Brain Requires Proper Nutrition...We have read a number of accounts of mental health "disturbances" such as ADD, ADHD, Autism, Depression and even Schizophrenia improving when imbalances in the digestive system are properly addressed.

From this we infer that a deficiency in the ecological balance of the gut can affect several brain and body functions.  One is the production of nutrients so cells can carry out instructions they receive from the brain. Another is the ability of cells to process and use these nutrients when they receive them. Still another is the production of neurotransmitters, the messenger components the brain uses to send these instructions. And not to be forgotten is the capacity of a cell to eliminate waste. 

Colon and Small Intestines
The Gut Must Stay Balanced... The gut is the place where all necessary nutrients for these functions are produced.  It has an inner lining of microbial organisms for processing our intake of food.  Many of these organisms are beneficial bacteria. The lining is often referred to as "gut flora." Our gut flora can become unbalanced because of stress, trauma or eating foods grown in poor soil.  If it does, we can become overgrown with bad bacteria, yeasts and other unwanted organisms.  Our digestion and elimination patterns tell us when this is happening. And so does our mood.  When this has happened to us, we have experienced neurotransmitter deficiencies (shown on laboratory tests).  We are told that neurotransmitter deficiencies directly affect the optimal functioning of our brain.

man with bloated belly
Gut-Brain Axis

Steps We Have Taken: We use probiotics, especially from fermented foods and drinks, as a first step to reset the ecological balance of the digestive system.

Laboratory Studies Are Linking Probiotics to the Production of Neurotransmitters...Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

picture of scientist in lab
Lab Research
Leads the Way

has linked probiotic strains and production of neurotransmitters in laboratory mice. Researchers have observed a link between certain probiotic strains of bacteria and the key neurotransmitters GABA, Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Dopamine and Acetylcholine. These are the key neurotransmitters often associated with mental health disturbances.

You can read more about this study at:  

Another Link Between Probiotics and Neurotransmitter Improvement...McMasters University Brain-Body Institute in Canada was involved in a recent study with mice that made a connection between the probiotic strain L. Rhamnosus JB-1 and an increase in GABA (calmness, relaxation) in the brain.  More on that study can be found here: Mind-altering microbes: Probiotic bacteria may lessen anxiety and depression  --from Science Daily. We think it would be quite helpful if more money were devoted to this kind of promising research.  It would be a great help in unraveling the modern epidemic of mood disorders.

Digestion Involves Every Cell...From our experience, we have found that digestive imbalances start in the gut but extend to every cell of the body.

As described earlier in this article all of our cells participate in digesting nutrients and disposing of the resulting waste.  Corrective measures include probiotics, which get the gut working with balanced bacterial strains. Corrective measures also attend to deficiencies in protein absorption and neurotransmitter production. And all of our cells may need healing in detoxification impairment and impaired methylation.

picture of blood and urine samples
Blood, Urine and Stool
Analysis Help

Sounds complicated?  Maybe, but it is surprising how modern laboratory techniques can look at all of these functions and find the imbalances. So, we have found testing is an excellent way to unravel these root problems. Genova Diagnostics is a nationally recognized, high-quality laboratory.

They have a battery of science-based blood and urine tests to determine which of these areas of our digestive systems are out of balance. Many insurance plans will pay for some or all of the testing.

We have used Genova Diagnostics and we recommend them.

More about Genova Diagnostics can be found at: One (Optimal Nutrition Evaluation) FMV.

We Read and Listen to Material from Experts with Experience and Wisdom...Here are some links:

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Body Ecology

We Get Help for Chronic Emotional Upset...It Helps Reset our Inner Ecological Balance...Although we are not focusing on it here, we have found from our own experience that chronic emotional upset can play a large role in disturbing the balance of our inner ecological system. We can correct every digestive imbalance in every cell in our body, but traumatic or stressful events lasting over an extended period of time can undo all the good work. If we were to choose one place in our body where emotional upset would be centered, we would point to our gut area. A chronic state of distress can come from everyday stresses and also our reactions to these events based on traumas from the past.  The second item, reactions, needs particular attention.  These reactions can come from unconscious programming extending all the way back to the womb.

picture of man with distressed expression
Chronic emotional upset creates imbalances in the gut...It is our experience that changing these reactions sometimes requires becoming conscious of these long time embedded unconscious beliefs and automatic, unconscious reactions to stimuli.

Professional consultations with therapists involved in healing past traumas and/or uncontrollable reactions can also become a part of healing the brain-gut connection.

picture of a bottle of kefir
Kefir is an ancient
fermented Drink

We Make D.I.Y. (Do it Yourself) Probiotic Drinks and Fermented Foods... Here are some examples of home recipes we have found useful in rebalancing gut flora. They are not being offered as medical cures. They are just home recipes we use that make us feel better: Probiotic Drinks and Fast Meals

In Summary: The Brain-gut Connection is not new. It's been known for ages. There are some steps we have taken to apply this wisdom:

  • One is to increase our intake of raw, naturally fermented foods and beverages.

  • Another is to get professional testing and evaluation from healers that are "hip" to this conventional wisdom.

  • A third is to deal with past traumas and our unconscious beliefs that may cause us to overreact to stressors in everyday life.

Related Articles:

(Talks about how the inner and outer ecological systems are connected) 

Related Products

Living Kefir Grains

Instructions on how we use these can be found here:

Note: We are telling a story here about our own personal observations and experiences. It is solely our opinion. It is not connected in any way to the official view of the persons, product-makers, service-providers or advertisers cited in the article or appearing elsewhere on this website. It is not being offered as medical advice. It should not be used to make decisions about medical issues. Our intention is to do no harm. If you have a health issue, it is very important to seek out qualified health professionals.

images (before enhancements) courtesy of, and

1 comment:

Lifefuelhc said...

A really well written article.