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Gut Health: What's Your Gut's Reaction?

Instinct. It’s a gut reaction based on your past experiences as well as your body’s nervous stress reaction. 

If you’ve ever felt sick to your stomach or had butterflies in your tummy, you’ll know what I mean. Or if you’ve ever felt a sinking feeling at the pit of your stomach. These instincts are emotional, felt within your gut and are giving you a warning. 

Or a feeling of lightness, or that a good laugh is just about to erupt from your stomach? Similarly these are positive emotions coming from your gut.

In our last newsletter I mentioned that our guts are smart. Did you know that your gut is often referred to as your ‘second brain’? You’ve got 500 million neurons embedded in your intestinal wall and these are connected to your brain through chemicals called neurotransmitters. [1] 

Your gut microbes produce neurotransmitters to help regulate sleep and mood, and control feelings of fear and anxiety [3] which contribute to your ‘gut reactions’.

Serotonin (a neurotransmitter which is associated with depression and emotional wellbeing) exists in the largest concentration in your gut, not your brain. It makes sense that prolonged or intense stress can disrupt your digestive system. But did you know that when there’s an imbalance of bacteria in your gut that this can influence how you emotionally respond to situations [4], impacting the accuracy of your gut reactions.

In fact, studies have shown that one gut bacteria profile can produce a different emotional reaction in people to other people who have a different bacteria profile e.g., you might feel more paranoid than your friend who has a different gut microbiome to yourself. [4] [6] 

So knowing that you could influence your gut reactions by improving the balance of bacteria in your gut microbiome, your gut profile, wouldn’t you eat foods to help you have the best outcome to your ‘gut reaction’ decision making?

 

Reading list

[1] That Gut Feeling https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling 

[2] You Really Shouldn't Ignore Your Gut Reaction, Science Finds, https://www.sciencealert.com/review-gut-brain-communication-vagus-nerve-increasing-avoidance-behaviour 

[3] Trust Your Gut https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/trust-your-gut#causes 

[4] What’s Your Gut Feeling https://www.gutreaction.co.uk/get-real/2019/4/15/whats-your-gut-feeling 

[5] A gut reaction: Microbiome-brain-immune interactions modulate social and affective behaviors,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5880698/ 

[6] Prevotella https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevotella