Gut-Brain Connection: What is it? Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine discovered a new type of network that could be used to diagnose and treat diseases such as depression, anxiety, diabetes, and even cancer.
How Can I Improve The Gut-Brain Connection
Your gut contains the most concentrated population of immune cells anywhere else in your body. The enteric nervous system (ENS) is called the second brain because it regulates digestion, absorption, secretion, motility, blood flow, immune function, pain sensation, and temperature regulation. Because it controls so many different bodily processes, including digestion, communication, respiration, blood pressure, temperature regulation, immune response, pain perception, and sleep cycles. This communication between the brain and intestines is called the “gut-brain” axis. It has been called “the body’s master gland.” Modern diseases like obesity, depression, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) share common risk factors, including poor gut microbiota composition.
There are trillions of bacteria living inside our bodies called “microbiota.” These microbes live within us, outnumbering human cells tenfold! Every person has their microbiome (microbiota) — an ecosystem of bacteria living within us. Diversity and composition of the gut microbiota change during life because of various factors, including diet, hormones, antibiotics, emotions, or gut diseases. An intestinal infection disturbs the normal function of the digestive system, which causes GI problems.
A healthy balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut can help improve the gut-brain connection and the absorption of food nutrients and prevent harmful bacteria from growing there. In addition, it teaches immune cells how to recognize foreign invaders. On top of its role in regulating brain-controlled functions and behaviors, this community of cells has been called the “peacekeeper of the body.”
Rethinking the relationship between stress and how you can irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
It used to be believed that anxiety, stress, and depression were responsible for gastrointestinal disorders, but new research suggests that it might just be the other way around! GI disorders such as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a significant chronic condition of the digestive system, are often linked to an imbalance of bacteria in the intestines. An imbalanced microbiome sends messages and signals to the body that may cause mood swings. Functional gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic idiopathic constipation, and functional dyspepsia appear to be associated with increased rates of anxiety and depression.
Better Treatment with Integrative Medicine
Because of the brain-gut axis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive disorders can often be effectively managed through an integrative approach focusing on gastrointestinal (GI) and behavioral medicine. Here are four things to remember when trying to get healthy gut flora back into balance: minimizing discomfort and managing persisting symptoms.
Your dietary habits impact the composition of the gut microbiota. A healthy and stable diet will improve the gut-brain connection! In recent years, research has found that reducing the consumption of irritating foods may help alleviate gastrointestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Instead of focusing on cutting out specific types of carbohydrates, which may be difficult for some people, focus on increasing dietary fiber intake by eating plenty of leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and dairy products shows to alleviate problematic symptoms.
Exercising regularly has been shown to improve the gut-brain connection by increasing microbial biodiversity. It can treat conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases by maintaining proper intestinal flora balance.
As far as medication use goes, limit them to when you need them or as directed by your doctor because they may decrease the diversity of your microbiome.
Stress reduction can help improve the gut-brain connection and help maintain an overall healthy gut! Two medically reviewed psychotherapies can be helpful for depression and reducing stress.
Cognitive- Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
With advancements in our knowledge of the gut-brain connection and its role in health, mindfulness techniques like Cognitive-behavioral therapy have proven effective for treating anxiety, depression, stress, pain, insomnia, and gastrointestinal disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people learn new coping skills by identifying negative thinking patterns and teaching them different techniques for dealing with difficult situations. For others, it might help them get started by considering this approach.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Practicing progressive muscle relaxation enhances mindfulness by increasing awareness of muscles’ sensations. If you learn to recognize when certain muscle groups become tense, you can relax them before they build tension. Doing such exercises can help relieve stress and anxiety. You might need several weeks of practice before achieving complete relaxation. When combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness meditation has effectively treated irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Humans have practiced meditation since ancient times. Different people practice various types of meditation for other reasons. However, regardless of their variety and how they’re practiced, the key is finding the kind of meditation that brings peace and tranquility into one’s life. Mindfulness meditation is an effective way to relax the brain and calm down the nerves. It helps manage stress, reduce pain, and help people sleep better. It involves focusing one’s mind and body through breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and chanting.
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