Gut Microbiome Affects Your Brain
The Gut-Brain-Axis (GBA) references the communication between your brain and your gut. The GBA is how your gut Microbiome affects your brain. Your gut consists of the stomach, small intestines and large intestines. Your gut is commonly referred to as “your second brain” because there are 500 million neurons that communicate from the gut to the brain; this is actually 5 times more neurons than neurons from the spinal cord to your brain! Very important, the communication is bi-directional – your brain communicates to your gut what is going on and your gut communicates to your brain what is going on.
Also, your gut uses more than 30 neurotransmitters that are identical to neurotransmitters found in your brain. These neurotransmitters affect how you think and how you feel. As an example, the majority of your serotonin, 90%, is actually found in your bowels and not the brain. Serotonin is the key neurotransmitter in depression. Most depression has everything to do how the gut Microbiome affects your brain. The other neurotransmitters that are in your gut and influence your brain are: dopamine, norepinephrine, glutamate, acetlycholine and nitric oxide along with others.
Third, the development of our gut in utero comes from the same tissue that develops the central nervous system. Both your gut and your brain develop out of the neural crest. This common place of origin may be the reason for the shared neurotransmitters too.
Research Studies on Gut Microbiome Affecting Your Brain
In recent years, there has been increasing amounts of research proving how the gut Microbiome affects your brain. This research shows that communication from the gut to the brain is influenced by the Microbiota of the intestinal tract. These studies have revealed that people with different types of gastro-intestinal disorders, such as IBS, IBD, Crohn’s disease, collitis, have altered bacterial strains from people who do not have gastro-intestinal disorders. And since this is a bi-directional communication pathway, communication from the brain to the gut plays a role in effecting the Microbiota of the gut also. This has been evidenced by several studies that looked at how stressful situations altered the gut Microbiota in humans as well as rats.
In a very informative article in the Journal of Medicinal Food, the author Leo Galland writes in his conclusion that studies on patients with liver cirrhosis and short bowel syndrome saw enough pathological changes to their brains that these researchers “speculate on possible adverse effects of gut microbes in alcohol dependence, CFS, fibromyalgia, RLS, ASD, schizophrenia, mood disorders, and degenerative or autoimmune neurologic disease.”1 CFS(chroinc fatigue syndrome), RLS(restless leg syndrome), ASD(autism spectrum disorder). These researchers had noted negative effects to the central nervous system that were “attributed to alterations in bacterial community structure (dysbiosis), SIBO, and increased intestinal permeability.”1 SIBO(small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). For more detailed information on Liver health and your Microbiome please click.
There have been a number of studies showing how different bacterial strains alter brain chemistry. Since your gut uses around 30 neurotransmitters that are also used in your brain, it has been learned that different bacteria alter which and how much of these neurotransmitters get produced. Unhealthy strains of bacteria cause different neurotransmitters to be produced that are out of balance from the neurotransmitters that are produced from healthy strains of bacteria that keep your brain in balance and functioning well.
IBS is now Considered a Gut-Brain-Axis Problem
The more research that is being done on the Microbiome, the more we learn how your gut Microbiome affects your brain. As a result of all the research looking at the Microbiome and it’s effects to your overall health, researchers are attributing increasing amounts of health problems to the gut Microbiome. As an example, now IBS (irritable Bowel Syndrome) is actually considered a Gut-Brain-Axis problem, not just an intestinal disorder.
This is years, actually decades in the making for Western Medicine, which has all these prior years separated the different organs for all diseases/disorders. While it has been the Wholistic Health Care providers, Acupuncturists/Herbalists, Naturopaths, Ayuervedic Practitioners, who always saw the whole picture. Because of course you can’t separate out any part of the body from having an effect on other parts. It is 1 organism because of all the communication that goes on within it.
1 Galland, L. 2014 Dec 1. The Gut Microbiome and the Brain. Journal of Medicinal Food, 17(12): 1261-1272. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4259177/
The human Microbiome is your body’s environment – the inside and the outside. Your body’s environment is what keeps you healthy, or what allows diseases to occur. Everyday you make choices that affect your Microbiome. Your body’s environment consists of the bacteria, fungi, viruses, protists and archaea that live in your body and on your body. We are supposed to have health promoting organisms, bacteria, viruses, etc., but if the health promoting bacteria become outnumbered by un-healthy strains of bacteria, viruses, or fungi, inflammation ensues.Your liver health and your Microbiome are integrally connected. Inflamed tissues are an altered Microbiome, which then is an easier environment for un-healthy organisms to thrive in. The longer the environment is inflamed for and houses pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi, protists and archaea the more the environment gets altered, making it progressively easier for un-healthy strains of organisms to thrive which then leads to disease. Think of the perfect storm, and the merging of environments that are catalysts to each other.
How Does Your Microbiome Affect Your Liver?
Liver health and your Microbiome are directly effected by your intestinal tract – and it’s own Microbiota. From the intestines blood is routed to the liver through the hepatic portal vein. This blood being delivered has the absorbed nutrients from digested food and also carries toxins and medications from the intestinal tract to the liver. Studies have shown the liver being effected by bacteria and fungi in people with unhealthy bacterial and fungal over growths in the intestinal tract. These pathogenic organisms do trans-locate and then cause problems to the liver which cumulatively can contribute to cirrhosis.
Multiple studies on people with cirrhosis have all proved that compared with people who do not have cirrhosis, the people with cirrhosis have bacterial strains not found in the people who do not have cirrhosis. Also, the people with cirrhosis have many different types of strains of bacteria, not just 10-20, but upwards of 30-40 of these are strains of bacteria that people that don’t have cirrhosis do not have.
Liver Health and Your Microbiome as relates to Bacterial Toxins
A very common toxin from bacteria is called the Lipopolysaccharide. This toxin does trans-locate from the intestinal tract to the liver and it is known to cause liver damage as well as damage to other parts of your body. Often the term “endotoxin” is used in reference to toxins generated from bacteria. It is known that Lipopolysaccharides, endotoxins, cause changes to the immune system, the lymph system, brain chemistry, the kidneys, the heart, the arteries and veins, reproductive hormones as well as the liver.
A great research study by Seki and colleagues proved that the intestinal bacteria/ microflora was the main source of Lipopolysaccharides entering the liver through the portal hepatic vein and this proved to be “an important prerequisite for the development of liver fibrosis during chronic liver injury.”1 This research is very important in showing how your liver health and your Microbiome are integrally related. For more detailed information on how the gut Microbiome affects your brain please click here.
In another great article in the British Journal of Pharmacology, “The multiple organ dysfunction syndrome caused by endotoxin in the rat: attenuation of liver dysfunction by inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase.”2 The researchers found that Lipopolysaccharides “caused a profound hypotension associated with decreases in cardiac output and oxygen delivery, lactic acidosis, renal and liver dysfunction, and thrombocytopenia.2. This means that blood pressure was reduced enough to cause a low heart rate resulting in not enough oxygen to the entire body resulting in lactic acid build up negatively effecting the kidneys and liver and causing low platelets resulting in lack of clotting.
Liver cirrhosis is prevalent worldwide, and mostly preventable. Liver cirrhosis is the result of a combination of a number of chronic liver diseases. Cirrhosis happens over a number of years. And once liver cirrhosis occurs, the cells of the liver die and either a person gets a liver transplant or they die. Because it does take years for cirrhosis to develop, and there are not glaring symptoms until there is a really big problem, most people do not even realize they might be heading that way.
Contributing Factors to Poor Liver Health
A diet high in processed foods is very taxing to the liver because of the man-made chemicals in processed foods. A diet high in trans-fats is also very taxing to the liver. All pharmaceutical medications, even over the counter medications, are very demanding on the liver and with long-term use end up causing liver problems. It is possible to keep your liver healthy through your lifestyle and Full Body 30 Day Vegan Cleanse can teach you that lifestyle.
Create Liver Health
Liver health and your Microbiome are mostly under your control. You can live a lifestyle that prevents you from getting cirrhosis. Eating foods that are plant based, especially deep green leafy vegetables, are very good for your liver and do make a difference to keeping the cells of the liver healthy and able to break down substances. Seeing a porfessonal Herbalist to help maintain your liver health and your Microbiome can keep you very healthy and make a tremendous difference to your entire body.
1 Seki E, De Minicis S, Osterreicher CH, Kluwe J, Osawa Y, Brenner DA, Schwabe RF. TLR4 enhances TGF-beta signaling and hepatic fibrosis. Nat Med Nov 2007; 13(11):1324 – 32; dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm1663; PMID: 17952090
2 * Thiemermann C, * Ruetten H, * Wu CC, * Vane JR.: Br J Pharmacol. 1995 Dec;116(7):2845-51.
The multiple organ dysfunction syndrome caused by endotoxin in the rat: attenuation of liver dysfunction by inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase.
Foods Affect the Human Microbiome
“Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” the very famous quote by Hippocrates that is about 2,500 years old. They didn’t have the word “Microbiome” then, but Hippocrates clearly saw how foods affect the overall health of a person because foods affect the human Microbiome. And today, that is still true. In fact, even through this 2,500 years and the development of Western Medicine, now modern research is reaching the same conclusion that doctors from thousands of years ago knew; and that is – your body needs to be treated as a whole, because it is 1 organism. That really is the bottom line when it comes to all the research on the Microbiome.
Another saying you have heard is, “You are what you eat.” This is because the foods that we eat get broken down by organisms, bacteria and fungi mostly, into substances that are the fuel for all of our cells. Natural foods- vegetables, fruit, grains, beans, ( And yes, even animal proteins.), are composed of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, that our body’s easily metabolize and are able to use (But not cow’s milk and the products made with cow’s milk.). If your diet consists of foods supplied by nature, and mostly unprocessed plants, your Microbiome is most likely dominant with healthy bacteria and fungi, as natural foods support these organisms.
Modern Research Reveals
In the last 10 years, a number of research studies have been able to decipher the different types of bacteria that live within the intestinal tract. Across the board these studies show differences in organisms that live in people with digestive problems compared to people who do not have digestive problems. Which makes sense since the environment in the intestines of people with digestive problems will be different and house different types of organisms than people who do not have digestive problems. Now also as a result of recent research there is a clear picture of how intestinal health effects liver health.
I tell my patients that their intestinal tract is like a compost bin. You start by putting foods into it and then one day you see there are some little bugs crawling around. Then a few weeks later you see those bugs and some new ones. And then one week you notice earth worms. Yet, you never put earth worms into the compost bin. How did they get there? They got there because the environment allowed it. Our intestinal tract is the same way. Our intestinal tract, the large intestines specifically, is the organ that is the dumpster, it carries the waste products out of our body. So, it makes sense that there will be bacteria there. What matters is what types of bacteria are there. And since this is the depository from the foods you ate, of course what foods you ate makes All the difference to what that waste is.
The Western Diets Influence on the Microbiome
The Standard American Diet, SAD, is thee cause of our health crisis today, it actually started several decades ago. And regardless, instead of changing the SAD and becoming a healthier country, right now in 2017, the U.S has not reached that turning point yet of making changes to not keep making these same health mistakes. American’s have steadily increased their consumption of sugar, processed foods, animal protein and fat. The SAD has also been the cause of digestive disorders for millions of people, as numerous studies have proved that the SAD allows unhealthy, pathogenic organisms to thrive in the intestinal tract. These studies are proof that foods affect the human Microbiome.
This is available to read in the Journal of Royal Medicine, “The number of diverse gut microbial species is diminished in nearly all modern chronic conditions studied. The ‘Western diet’, rich in animal protein, fats and artificial additives, and lacking in fibre, beneficial microbes, plant phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, is thought to drive these conditions by encouraging gut dysbiosis. Evidence from recent dietary intervention studies suggest adopting a plant-based, minimally processed high-fibre diet may rapidly reverse the effects of meat-based diets on the gut microbiome.”1
Products found in processed foods, emulsifiers specifically, have been shown to alter the intestinal environment causing inflammation in the intestines of mice. The mice were given small amounts of 2 commonly used emulsifiers. Chronic inflammation ensued which then changed which types of bacteria were living in the intestines of the mice. As a result of these changes, the mice became obese and had metabolic syndrome. The authors concluded, “These results support the emerging concept that perturbed host-microbiota interactions resulting in low-grade inflammation can promote adiposity and its associated metabolic effects. Moreover, they suggest that the broad use of emulsifying agents might be contributing to an increased societal incidence of obesity/metabolic syndrome and other chronic inflammatory diseases.”2 Foods clearly impacted the Microbiome of mice, and foods affect the human Microbiome too.
Plant Foods Increase Bacterial Diversity
Raw unprocessed foods provide our body’s with a variety of bacteria because the phytonutrients in those plants are nutrients that those bacteria also want. So, that is one of the ways we get diverse and mostly health promoting bacteria. The raw and unprocessed foods affect the human Microbiome in the positive way we need. When food gets processed, of course all the types of bacteria get eliminated and we do not get any from that processed food. It’s just like anti-biotics, which go into our body’s and wipe out numerous types of bacteria, even the healthy ones we are supposed to have because anti-biotics, like food processing, is non-discriminating.
1 Pallister, T. Spector, TD. 2016 Sep. Food:a new form of personalized (gut microbiome) medicine for chronic diseases? Journal of Royal Society Medicine, 109(9):331-336. doi: 10.1177/0141076816658786, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27609798#
2 Chassaing B., Koren O., Goodrich JK., et al. 2015 Mar 5. Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome. Nature, 519(7541):92-96, doi: 10.1038/nature14232 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25731162
This book is not a medical manual. It is intended as a reference for a healthy lifestyle. The information is given to help you make informed choices about your health. This Cleanse is not meant as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your doctor. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, you are urged to seek competent medical help. If you are pregnant or nursing, it is recommended that you do NOT do this Cleanse. This is not the appropriate time to make radical changes to your body. These herbal formulas are NOT to be used by a pregnant woman. All recommendations are believed to be effective, but since the actual use of herbs by others is beyond the control of the author, no expressed or implied guarantee as to the effects of their use can be given nor liability taken. The publisher and author expressly disclaim all liability connected with goods/services/ products obtained with this Cleanse. Any use of the information in this book is at the reader's discretion.
Notice: If you have a corn allergy, do not take these herbs. (They are processed with corn starch.)
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