If you’ve ever felt “a pit in your stomach”, or experienced “butterflies” in your gut, in response to various emotions or experiences, you might be surprised to know that the emotions solicited by these experiences are because of and not the cause of signals from the brain in your gut. This second brain, as it’s commonly referred to, is called the enteric nervous system (ENS). It’s made up of more than 100 million nerve cells ranging from your esophagus down to your rectum.
As explained by one doctor in the study of neurogastroenterology, “Its main role is controlling digestion, from swallowing to the release of enzymes that break down food to the control of blood flow that helps with nutrient absorption to elimination.” The ENS may also solicit emotional responses from people experiencing bowel problems like, bloating, gas, distention, constipation diarrhea and upset stomach. A high percentage of people suffering from depression and anxiety also report functional bowel problems.
For decades, experts believed that these mental disorders contributed to upset stomach and IBS, but new findings are showing it may be the other way around. An upset gut may be the cause of certain mental health issues. In fact, some gastroenterologists are prescribing antidepressants for IBS and not because they think the problem is in the patient’s head, but rather to help decrease symptoms of IBS! While this finding is alarming, it places further emphasis on the need for better gut health and improved communication between the little brain in our stomachs and the big brain in our heads. More focus needs to be done on preserving and strengthening gut health.
The good news is that in many cases, prescription drugs may not be needed. Optimal gut health can be achieved through lifestyle change. Priority should be placed on nutrition and proper supplementation. Whole foods as close to the source as possible, along with gut friendly pre and probiotics, and proper hydration are essential to maintaining a healthy and happy gut. Supplements like Protea Nutrition’s GI Assist were formulated with the preservation and improvement of gut heath in mind. GI Assist was developed to support the body’s natural detoxification process. By supporting intestinal function with an effective high potency probiotic that supports elimination of metabolic by-products and common everyday exposure fostering a healthy digestive system.
Protect your gut. Your physical and mental health are both heavily affected by the function of it. Much of what enters your body and gut is completely voluntary, so be sure you’re choosing quality foods and supplements.
The contents of this blog should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem-nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.