Did you know that we have a second brain full of bugs that are beneficial for our health?
In this sense, already in this article, I told you that lowering intestinal inflammation is one of the keys to having good mental health. Therefore, due to its extension, the content of this article will be divided into two parts:
- In this first part, corresponding to this article: What to know about your second brain to keep your intestine and your mind healthy.
- In the second part: Tips to keep our gut microbiota happy.
Evolution of the intestine
To this day, there is still confusion when we talk about intestinal flora. Or rather, intestinal microbiota. I invite you to read both articles and in this way, understand even more your holistic health.
Before we got off the trees we had a large intestine to ferment the large amounts of vegetables that we put in our mouths.
We continued to evolve over time, we put ourselves on two legs and made the discovery that it would change everything.
America? Do not! The fire!
With the fire, they began our first steps as cooks. We went from an exclusive diet of fruits and vegetables to a more varied and cooked diet of meats and tubers.
For example, if we compare our intestines with those of the chimpanzee (because it is as close as we have), we see that we have more than twice the small intestine and less than half the large intestine.
Then, the evolution made our large intestine begin to shrink. When cooking food, digestions were lighter. On the contrary, our small intestine began to grow longer, between 3 and 7 meters in length.
Between the two intestines, there can be more than 7 meters. Therefore, understanding the intestinal microbiota and the different species is of vital importance for our health, although, to this day, there are many diseases and diseases that are not yet identified by science.
Characteristics of the intestinal microbiota
The intestinal microbiota is bacteria, fungi, and viruses that are housed in the intestinal wall, whose task is to ensure that other organs and systems are healthy. Modulate our immune system and protect us from diseases are some of its other functions.
However, not only do we have intestinal microbiota. We also have microbiota on the skin, in the mouth, in the throat, in the vagina, and in the penis. So, to qualify the human being as an individual would be wrong since we have ten times more bacteria than human cells.
And after this, I have the following question: Who is the guest? The microorganisms or us?
Fortunately, most of these little ones with whom we share functions are beneficial to our health. Together we form an ecosystem that has evolved over the millennia.
In the large intestine, the Bifidobacterium strains live mostly and in the small intestine, Lactobacillus strains. If the proportion or distribution of these is altered due to stress, poor diet, excessive medication, abuse of hygiene, pregnancy, childbirth and inconsistent first years of life, you may encounter the following conditions and diseases :
- Intestinal permeability
- Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO)
- Crohn’s disease
- Colitis Uucerosa
- Colon cancer
- Depression and anxiety
- Coronary heart disease
- Eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis
The importance of the brain-intestine axis
In 2008, the Institute of Health of the United States began a 5-year study called the Human Microbiome Project (HMP or The Human Microbiome Project). This investigation served to understand the immensity of the bacterial, viral and fungal inhabitants of the human being ( detail ).
Or as they explain in their website: “The objective of the HMP is to describe the microbial communities found in different parts of the human body and to study the correlations between the changes in the microbiome and the health of the people”.
All this information has helped to understand the interaction between the microbiota, the enteric nervous system (ENS or Enteric Nervous System, in English) and the brain.
The ENS is in charge of controlling the most important gastrointestinal functions, such as the intake, absorption, metabolism, and digestion of food. It is so complex that it is able to act independently of the brain. For that reason, the intestine is spoken of as the second brain.
Day after day, intestine and brain communicate without stopping. For example, when you get nervous at the time of facing an exam and you enter the market, or when you are in love and feel a slight tingling in the stomach.
This union is called the intestinal-cerebral axis (GBA or Gut-Brain Axis in English.) This GBA consists of bidirectional communication between the central nervous system and the enteric system, which unites the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with the intestinal functions. peripheral.
This relationship not only maintains a balance in our intestines but can also have effects on our motivation and moods.
An imbalance in your microbiota can influence the appearance of anxiety and depressive behaviors and, more recently, in the alteration of the types and amounts of microbiota ( dysbiosis ) in people with autism. In fact, autistic patients present specific alterations of the microbiota according to the severity of the disease.
” A poor dysbiosis in your intestinal microbiota favors the disease ” – ( Marcos Vázquez)
The ‘highway’ to communicate the brain-gut axis
The vagus nerve is in charge of wandering through our system and connecting all our organs with the brain. The intestine has a lot of nervous tissue and inside it, many hormones are generated. For example, the hormone of mood states, serotonin or the hormone of motor activity, behavior and motivation, called dopamine, which also have to do with respecting the circadian rhythms of the body.
Therefore, if you present imbalances in your holistic health, the vagus nerve will realize that something is going wrong, being able to affect you in two senses: from top to bottom (brain-intestine) and from bottom to top (intestine-brain).
From top to bottom
Stress in the environment of the 21st century is one of the factors that can alter the balance of your microbiota. The vagus nerve connects all the organs to the spinal cord, which in turn is attached to the brain.
The brain and brainstem are responsible for sending the impulses, through the vagus nerve, to a series of valves that are in the intestine. But, if you have a habit of continuous stress, the valve that acts as a gate between the large and small intestine remains open for a long time and the bacteria of the large intestine make a trip to the small intestine.
Clearly, these bacteria do not belong to the small intestine and this can start some problems in your health, such as inflammation of the intestinal wall and so bacterial brecrecimiento in the small intestine (SIBO).
A gut level, if your friendly microbiota is very low, may appear intestinal permeability l, which can lead to symptoms such as :
- Abdominal distension
- Some skin problems
In addition, with respect to the brain, low populations of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus can:
- Altering the synthesis and metabolism of neurotransmitters
- Cognitive impairment
- Produces depressive and anxious behavior
Without a doubt, there is much to discover in the world of the microbiota and the intestine-brain axis. Todo symptom, disorder or disease must be treated from a holistic view of health. There are many factors to consider and an updated doctor can help you separate the chaff from the grain, with the aim of going to the real causes of your intestinal problems, although many of the diseases of this century have their origin in bad habits. of life.
For the part that touches me, I advise you to be the best ambassador of your intestinal microbiota. Remember that having healthy habits depends on you, not your doctor or your coach.
Be a good host
Knowing all this, how can we keep these little and influential little creatures happy to have 21st-century health? This will be discussed in the second part of the article. However, I leave you a small preview in the form of checks:
- Intermittent Fasting
- Control stress with meditation
- Control the intake of antibiotics without a prescription
- Contact with the environment
- Adjustments of the circadian rhythm
A hug and we continue to provide holistic health!
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