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Gut Health Equals Brain Health: Exploring the Gut-Brain Connection

 Brain and gut health

Gut microbiome, gut brain connection, gut health: you’ll find these buzzwords all over social media. As research unveils the mysteries of the microbiome, more and more people are realizing that practices like traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are right in claiming that all parts of the body impact and influence one another.

In particular, modern-day science shows that your gut health directly affects your brain health. If your digestive system isn’t balanced, chances are high that your mental state won’t be, either.

But what does that mean for you? Let’s break down the microbiome, inspect the gut-brain axis and connection and discover how it influences your physical and mental health.

If you learn how to keep your gut microbiome in tip-top shape, the rest of your body will thank you.

Understanding Your Microbiome

Most of us consider ourselves to be one single, living organism. In reality, we’re much more complex. The human body is an ecosystem supporting trillions of microbes. You actually have as many microbes in and on your body as you have cells.

Each area of your body houses its own distinct microbiota community. The gut is the most famous one, but your skin, lungs and mouth are also hotbeds of minuscule life.

Interestingly, we have a symbiotic relationship with the microbes in us. We give them a place to live, and in exchange, they help keep us alive by performing functions our own cells can’t, like:

  • Digesting and extracting nutrients from certain foods
  • Providing protective support and defense for your health
  • Regulating your immune system

Your microbiome also influences your gut health. 

Exploring the Gut Brain Connection

The gut and brain share a speedy communication network, and they’re always talking to each other. Your vagus nerve connects them, and your gut makes neurotransmitters to carry information to your brain.

Gut microbes also create substances like short-chain fatty acids (SFCA). They stimulate certain brain processes and act on nerve pathways in ways scientists currently strive to understand.

Science also highlights the importance of the vagus nerve — the longest nerve in your body. This nerve sends information from your brain to the rest of your system. It’s responsible for regulating your heartbeat and initiating cravings if you need certain nutrients.

The Microbiome and Your Overall Health

Studies on the microbiome mostly focus on the connection between gut and brain function, but your gut’s health can impact the rest of your body, too.

For instance, your gut microbiome controls your immune system, which controls your body’s inflammation levels. If your immune system is active for too long, your inflammation levels rise.

Inflammation is linked to:

  • Low mood and nervousness
  • Memory problems
  • Mental health issues

One study further reinforced this connection. It showed that people with an unhealthy gut who experience mild to moderate nervousness on a daily basis saw relief from symptoms after taking the gut-supportive probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 for six weeks.

Maintaining a Healthy Connection

It’s obvious that caring for this gut brain connection is important, so how can you keep it healthy and strong?

Get More Plants

Fiber-rich diets make for diverse and balanced microbiomes, so stock up on both water-soluble and non-water-soluble fiber. When you eat non-water soluble fiber, the sugar is too complex for your stomach to break down, so your microbiota ferments it. This process creates anti-inflammatory and nourishing short-chain fatty acids (SCFA).

Fibrous plant-based foods that are beneficial for  gut and brain function include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Polyphenol-rich foods like olive oil and coffee

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms found in certain fermented foods like kefir, kimchi and yogurt. They help maintain a healthy gut microbiome balance which, in turn, helps to:

  • Maintain gut integrity
  • Activate the vagus nerve
  • Produce crucial substances like SCFAs
  • Prevent the leakage of toxic and inflammatory material

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are food nutrients that encourage the growth and activity of good microbiota in your gut. They stay undigested until they hit your colon, where microbes ferment and feed on them. This doesn’t provide the body with caloric nutrients, but it does:

  • Create short-chain fatty acids to feed to your brain
  • Support your immune health
  • Protect your metabolic and digestive health

You can get synthetic prebiotics in supplement form for easy dosing, or you can eat whole foods. Consider onions, leeks, bananas, artichokes, asparagus and cabbage for tasty and microbiome-friendly additions to your meals.

Change Your Diet Up

The Mediterranean diet, in particular, is highly anti-inflammatory. It’s built around vegetables, fruit, nuts, herbs, beans and whole grains. Poultry, seafood, dairy and eggs see moderate use, while red meats are enjoyed sparingly.

Aside from the Mediterranean, other nations with low inflammation and healthy gut rates share some points in common, like:

  • Eating a lot of fermented foods
  • Avoiding certain types of dairy and red meats
  • Avoiding excessive amounts of processed sugar

To support your gut, you can also lean into tryptophan-rich foods like eggs, cheese and turkey. Foods high in omega-3 fats are gut-friendly, too.

It’s worth noting here that you don’t have to completely change up every part of your diet to enjoy the benefits of microbiome-friendly foods. The simple addition of fiber and reduction of irritating foods like processed sugar can ease inflammation and help support your gut.

How Marijuana Can Help with Gut Health

If you live with gut health problems, you have extra hurdles to clear when it comes to keeping your gut microbiome healthy and happy. Marijuana could provide the support you need.

This is because marijuana contains hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes. Importantly, all cannabinoids, including THC and CBD — the most studied — can help balance your gut and promote digestive health.

Given its properties, cannabis has a long history of use as a medical tool. In modern patients, cannabis appears to help calm symptoms like stomach discomfort and inflammation.

To further discover the benefits of CBD on gut health, consider reading our article on CBD for gut health, as well as CBD for Inflammation. If you're considering incorporating CBD into your routine, our guide on how much CBD a beginner should start with can help you start safely and effectively.

Reduce Inflammation with Zebra CBD

If you want to improve your gut brain connection, a few simple changes may do the trick. Adjust your diet, take prebiotics and probiotics, get enough fiber and drink plenty of water.

Additionally, consider adding Zebra CBD to your health and wellness routine. Zebra CBD is your trusted CBD online expert, offering premium CBD products ranging from CBD topicals and edibles to CBD hemp oil for sale that can support your overall health and vitality. Plus, all of our products are also third-party tested, to ensure their potency, safety and efficacy.

Try Zebra CBD today, and experience the difference for yourself.

 

Source: 

  1. Healthline. The Gut-Brain Connection: How it Works and The Role of Nutrition. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gut-brain-connection
  2. National Institutes of Health. 4 Fast Facts about the Gut-Brain Connection. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/news/events/4-fast-facts-about-the-gutbrain-connection
  3. NPR. Studying the link between the gut and mental health is personal for this scientist. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/07/08/1186092825/studying-the-link-between-the-gut-and-mental-health-is-personal-for-this-scienti
  4. Psychology Today. Gut-Brain Axis. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/gut-brain-axis
  5. TIME. Can Cannabis Help Your Gut? https://time.com/6101096/marijuana-gut-health/

Co-founder of Copycat Copywriters, Adam has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies on a wide array of topics, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

About the Author

Adam Biederman Image

Adam Biederman

As co-founder and lead writer of Copycat Copywriters, one of Adam’s primary areas of expertise is within the budding CBD and cannabis space. He has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies, producing a collection of white papers, press releases, blog posts, articles and ebooks about a wide array of industry-related subjects, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

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