The Brain Gut Connection
If you’ve ever “gone with your gut” to make a decision or felt “butterflies in your stomach” when nervous, you’re likely getting signals from an unexpected source: your second brain. Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this “brain in your gut” is revolutionizing medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.
Brain fog is something many of us experience from time to time – difficulty concentrating, feeling as if our mind was cloudy or foggy, poor short term memory recall and struggling to multi-task. Often this can be related to lack of sleep, excessive stress, or consuming too much alcohol, but for some people frequent episodes of ‘brain fog’ can be disruptive to daily performance.
Brain fog has been described in the medical literature as a:
“…constellation of symptoms that include reduced cognition, inability to concentrate and multitask, as well as loss of short and long term memory. Brain “fog” characterizes patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), celiac disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, mastocytosis, and postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), as well as “minimal cognitive impairment,” an early clinical presentation of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and other neuropsychiatric disorders”.
It is important to always have these symptoms examined by a Medical Practitioner if they are persistent or severe, however patients who have seen their GP are often told it may just be stress, or that they should get more sleep. Often this advice has not been found to help so it’s worth looking into other factors that may be playing a role.
Our gut health is involved in almost all aspects of our physiology, and its relationship to brain fog and cognitive performance is no exception.
Symptoms like bloating, excessive flatulence, gut pain, and changeable stool habits, often associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also correlate with mental health symptoms of brain fog, irritability, and even things like anxiety and depression.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Your gut is often referred to as the “second brain.” Your intestines house more than 80% of your immune system and act as a gateway to the rest of your body's systems, sifting out important nutrients from your food and distributing it throughout the rest of your body. Your gut is also where 95% of your serotonin is produced, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for your mood. Essentially, your gut is responsible for your daily mood.
Neurofeedback and proper nutrition can ease gastrointestinal issues by boosting the brain to its functional best. A diet that promotes digestive health should focus on fibrous vegetables, fruits, fermented vegetables, and healthy fats, and supplements like probiotics, probiotics and the Good Sh!t to keep optimal digestive health.