Your Gut as Your Second Brain

by | Sep 30, 2020 | Lupus Blog | 0 comments

There are many of you who are struggling with gut issues. In functional medicine (FM), we focus on the gut health first and foremost. This is because we know with autoimmunity, leaky gut is at the root of your issues.  

Our gut is considered the second brain. It’s called the enteric nervous system because researchers are discovering that our gut communicates with our brain. These two systems are interconnected, and together the two brains play a key role in not only health but also disease management.   

For example, anxiety and stress are psychological issues. But, we also know that patients with gut issues often experience anxiety and stress due to their condition.  Research proves that our brain connects with the rest of the body through the network of nerves and neurotransmitters.  This is also true for out gut, the enteric nervous system.  Its network of nerves and neurotransmitters extend the full length of the digestive tract, from the throat down to the anus.  

Because the same network of nerves and neurotransmitters are involved in our central nervous system and the enteric nervous system, medical experts are beginning to call the gut our second brain.  This is particularly important for autoimmunity because many of us struggle with brain fog, fatigue and gut issues specifically relating to the gut’s permeability.  

Why is this important?  Because it’s the root of all things in autoimmunity. This relationship impacts our immune system in a big way.  The communication between the brain and gut is allowing the medical community to think differently about diseases.  Not only is there communication, but it also impacts all our systems including our hormones.  

Examples of Gut-Brain Connection

I’m sure you all have felt the stress in your lives.  Think of a situation where you were scared and overwhelmed with a circumstance.  Let’s think about maybe an accident that almost happened.  The central nervous system shifts into the fight-or-flight mode.  At the same time, the enteric nervous system slows down or completely stops digestion.  This is the body’s innate mechanism to divert the energy to the situation at hand, which in this case is a threat.  

The fear of public speaking, going on a first date, etc. can trigger the same type of a physiological response.  For us, it can be a trip to the lab to get our blood drawn.  

The system can slow down or speed up to cause abdominal pain, discomfort or even diarrhea.  Emotions, feelings of excitement or nervousness can cause the familiar churning in the tummy as well, known as the butterfly in the stomach feeling.  The gut-brain connection can work both ways, if you have too much digestive issue, it can create anxiety and stress as well.

So the question is what do you do?  

This is precisely why at Autoimmune Health Transformation, we work on the whole body.  We focus a lot on managing mental health.  Doctors usually recommend also using a psychologist to manage our thoughts. We like to place the control back in your hands by doing a brain dump, exploring the causes and managing our lives to limit the stress to our minds and bodies. 

All such things were discussed in our seven-day Autoimmune Detox Challenge.  The replay page is still up, and the link to sign-up is here, so please go ahead and sign-up, binge-watch and follow the diet, detox yoga and guided meditation.  You’ll get so much out of the experience; I’m getting lots of feedback that it was life-changing for many of you.

Remember, we must trust our bodies to do what it does best to heal. Stay positive, and BE healthy.

See you soon.

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