Gut-Brain Axis & Mental Health: What’s The Connection?
We have always read about how our physical health is connected with our mental health. If you are physically fit, you’ll be able to handle your mental challenges well. Similarly, when you’re mentally fit, it becomes easy for you to fight your physical challenges.
The gut-brain axis is the perfect example of what the correlation between physical health and mental health looks like. The gut-brain axis can be understood as a two-way street where both gut health and brain health have an impact on each other.
When your gut health is poor it sends a troubling signal to the brain and when the brain health is poor it sends a similar troubling signal to the gut. The gut-brain axis focuses on the interactions between your gut and your brain.
What Is The Brain-Gut Axis?
Gut-brain axis is a complex yet special connection between the brain and your gut. They both send signals to one another, exchange information, and react based on the information received from the other.
For example, your gut sends a signal to your brain when you feel hungry and the brain responds by producing digestive acids. Similarly, when you’re stressed the brain sends a signal to your gut which then responds with stomach cramps, loose motions, sudden urge to use the washroom, etc.
There have been researches that suggest that the gut-brain axis can influence things like inflammation, physical illnesses and mental health. Most of these researches were conducted with a special focus on the health of the gut and brain and their connection.
What Is The Brain-Gut Axis Connection?
The brain and gut axis connect both the brain and gut physically as well as chemically. There is a trail that this connection follows. This axis uses your body parts to interact with each other and responds accordingly.
Let’s understand the connection properly by understanding how that communication between the brain and the gut takes place. Here are all the things involved that make the connection between the brain and the gut possible;
- The vagus nerve: is a large nerve that runs from your brain to your colon.
- Neurotransmitters: they are responsible for regulating your emotional well-being and digestion.
- The gut microbiome: this includes trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that are present in your gut and are responsible for your health.
Even though researchers have just begun exploring this new area of research, there has been evidence that the health of your gut microbiome plays a role in reducing mental health symptoms of conditions like anxiety and depression.
The Relationship Between Gut-Brain Axis And Mental Health
The gut and mental health are complex, whenever we talk about these two only complex conditions pop into our heads. But these two complex things interact and can either make things even more complex or make complex things simpler for you.
There are various mental health conditions that have physical symptoms related to your gut, like anxiety. There has been plenty of research that suggests that gut bacteria influence the symptom of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. They have also identified specific gut microbes that connect with mental health conditions.
One of these studies reported that people with depression show reduced amounts of two types of bacteria called Dialister and Coprococcus in their guts. According to this study, the participants who had more of these two bacteria also reported a higher quality of life and happiness.
Gut bacteria are also responsible for producing hundreds of neurochemicals. These neurochemicals are then used by the brain to regulate physiological and mental processes such as learning, memory, and mood.
The gut also regulates the level of serotonin in an individual. Serotonin levels help regulate sleep and are also known as mood stabilizers. When the gut microbiome experiences an imbalance between good and bad gut bacteria, it sends a signal to the brain. That signal can make someone experience increased stress, anxiety, or depression, among other things.
That’s All Folks!
I hope you found this blog about the gut-brain axis and the relationship between gut-brain axis and mental health helpful, interesting, and informative. Do share this blog with your friends and family so that we all know how important it is to take care of our physical as well as mental health because both share a deep connection.
Thanks for reading.
Take care and stay safe.