The gut and the brain have two different jobs that do different functions in the body but, have a bidirectional communication with each other. The brain is part of the central nervous system that sends out neuron signals all throughout the entire body. These neuron signals make sure that everything is working properly, from the heart beating to blood pressure being regulated. The gut is part of the digestive system and it makes sure that food is being digested properly, while the beneficial good bacteria is protecting the gut from harmful pathogens. When unwanted pathogens start to affect either the brain, the gut, or both, it can cause problems to the body making it dysfunctional and causing the individual unwanted pain. In this 2 part series, we will be taking a look at the different factors that can affect the gut-brain axis. Part 1 took a look at what the gut-brain axis is and how does it function in the body. By referring patients to qualified and skilled providers who specialized in gastroenterology services. To that end, and when appropriate, we advise our patients to refer to our associated medical providers based on their examination. We find that education is the key to asking valuable questions to our providers. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
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The Gut-Brain Connection
The gut-brain connection provides a bidirectional connection to both the brain and the gut. Both of these organs continuously send each other signals back and forth in order to make sure that the body is functioning properly while also doing their jobs as well. Research studies show that the gut-brain connection is also known as the enteric nervous system and what it does is that it’s a network of nerves, neurons, and neurotransmitters that extends all over the entire digestive tract. The enteric nervous system is also referred to as a “second brain”, which is the gut as it is in constant communication to the brain and plays a major key role in diseases and mental health for individuals.
Stem cells* or HCTP (human cellular tissue products) are a form of regenerative cellular treatments that help boost the body’s own natural healing process. HCTP has been used in both international and nationally affiliated clinics and distribution organizations by repairing and regenerating damaged cells, diseased tissues, and organs back to their original state and function in the body. With more upcoming research about the beneficial properties of HCTP, many individuals can get their lives back together pain-free and without chronic issues affecting them.
The Factors That Affect The Gut-Brain
There are many factors that can affect both the gut and the brain as the body does encounter many pathogens that can cause a person to be in pain. Studies have found that gut microbiota has been known to support tight junction integrity and when dysbiosis and increased intestinal permeability can cause dysfunction to the brain. The same goes for the brain when the neuron signals are being disrupted by unwanted pathogens that travel from the brain to the gut. Other factors that can affect the gut-brain axis include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Unhealthy diet
- Physical inactivity
- Chronic pain
Research shows that visceral pain is described as pain originating from the internal organs of the body and can cause the development of neurological behavioral disorders. Visceral pain can also cause gastrointestinal disorders as it causes damage to the thorax and abdomen while also making maladaptive changes to alter the brain structure and function. Other research studies have found that visceral pain is a complex and heterogeneous disorder that involves the spinal cord, a higher order of the brain structure, and manipulates the gut microbiota. Some of the mechanical features that visceral pain causes gastrointestinal pain and discomfort that can cause painful stimuli to the brain.
Stress can be both beneficial and harmful to the body, especially to the gut and the brain. When stress is in its acute form, it can help give the body a “fight or flight response” effect that gives the body a little boost of energy. However, when stress is in its chronic state can cause damage to the brain and gut as it can become harmful over time if it is not treated. Studies show that the importance of the gut-brain axis in regulating stress responses has been long appreciated as it can impact mental and gut health. When stress starts to affect both the gut and the brain, the neuron signals will get disrupted and can kill the neuron’s signals and replaced them with new ones to cause havoc on the gut-brain axis. Other studies have found that when a person is under chronic stress, gut infections and inflammation can cause an increase in high-co-morbidity of anxiety and depression disorders in people.
Just like stress, inflammation can be both beneficial and harmful to the body and the brain-gut connection. The beneficial factor of inflammation in its acute form is that it can naturally heal an injury by making the affected area swell up, red, and hot to the touch which can last for a few minutes to an hour, depending on the injury. Studies have shown that the gut-brain connection has molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate inflammatory responses to the body. However, just like chronic stress, when the body has chronic inflammation can cause havoc on the gut by attaching itself to the intestinal permeability and causing the immune system to attack the permeability causing a leaky gut. For the brain, inflammation can attach to the neuron signals and travel up to the brain to cause havoc on the blood-brain barrier and develop neuroinflammation.
All in all, the gut-brain connection has a wonderful bidirectional connection that makes sure that not only the body is staying functional, but also for each of the organs to do their jobs properly as well. When unwanted pathogens start to affect the brain-gut connection, it can cause numerous problems to the body with chronic inflammation, chronic stress, and many other issues that can cause a person to be in pain. Utilizing a healthy diet filled with nutritional food, getting up to do some sort of physical exercise, and making small changes to a lifestyle habit can dampen the effects of chronic issues that are affecting the body and provide the individual with a pain-free lifestyle.
Agirman, Gullistan, et al. “Signaling Inflammation across the Gut-Brain Axis.” Science (New York, N.Y.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 25 Nov. 2021, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34822299/.
Appleton, Jeremy. “The Gut-Brain Axis: Influence of Microbiota on Mood and Mental Health.” Integrative Medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), InnoVision Health Media Inc., Aug. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6469458/.
Bear, Tracey, et al. “The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis and Resilience to Developing Anxiety or Depression under Stress.” Microorganisms, MDPI, 31 Mar. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8065970/.
Foster, Jane A, et al. “Stress & the Gut-Brain Axis: Regulation by the Microbiome.” Neurobiology of Stress, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 19 Mar. 2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29276734/.
Medical Professionals, Cleveland Clinic. “Gut-Brain Connection: What It Is, Behavioral Treatments.” Cleveland Clinic, 3 Dec. 2020, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/16358-gut-brain-connection.
Moloney, Rachel D, et al. “Stress and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Visceral Pain: Relevance to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, John Wiley and Sons Inc., Feb. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6492884/.
Pusceddu, Matteo M, and Melanie G Gareau. “Visceral Pain: Gut Microbiota, a New Hope? – Journal of Biomedical Science.” BioMed Central, BioMed Central, 11 Oct. 2018, jbiomedsci.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12929-018-0476-7.
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