The Gut-Brain Connection: Unlocking the Power of a Healthy Gut for Optimal Mental Health
The gut-brain axis (GBA) consists of bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous system, linking emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. Recent advances in research have uncovered the importance of gut microbiota in influencing these interactions.
The interaction between microbiota and GBA appears to be bidirectional, namely through signaling from gut-microbiota to the brain and from the brain to gut-microbiota by means of neural, endocrine, immune, and humoral links.
In this course we summarize the available evidence supporting the existence of these interactions, as well as the possible pathophysiological mechanisms involved in addition to ways to improve gut-brain health through the following pathways: 1) diet, 2) physical activity, and 3) sleep and happiness.
We also discuss how a troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. A person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.