Does Our Gut Health Affect Our Brains?

There is a lot of scientific evidence now emerging linking the bacteria in our guts to our brain. In other words our mental health is dependent to a certain extent on the type of bacteria that live in our guts.

I was recently told about a friend’s neighbour, whose son proved this point in action. His mother had given him probiotics (good bacteria in supplement form) in order to try and alleviate his stomach upsets and flatulence. The probiotics not only helped with his stomach upsets but the behaviour problems linked to his Asperger’s syndrome were significantly reduced. He was able to concentrate much better and was much more settled at school.

When I studied as a nutritional therapist in the 1980’s I remember how we were taught that the gut flora were involved in so many problems. I also remember the short iridology course I took and the diagram of the eye showing the intestinal tract situated surrounding the pupil. Every other organ and system of the body radiated out from the gut. In other words they were all affected by the state of the gut.

I went for some acupuncture last week and my therapist was talking about a famous Chinese acupuncturist who always treated the digestive system whatever the disease. We need to keep our digestive tract in good working order to prevent food residues travelling too far down the tract where they can feed bad bacteria. And we need to eat the right kind of food, less sugar and processed carbohydrates which the bad bacteria love and more complex carbohydrates and vegetables which provide fibre and food to encourage the growth of good bacteria.

Hopefully as more research is carried out, the link between our gut health and the rest of the body will lead to a new way of treating many common problems but the bottom line is, that it is our diet which affects the state of our gut health in the first place.