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Enteric Nervous System: Your second brain:

Enteric Nervous System: Your second brain:

If you’ve ever “gone with your gut” to make a decision, and have noticed things going in your favor… You probably have witnessed the hidden signals from your second brain – The Gut.
Our digestive system is known to play a much larger role than merely digesting what we eat through the day. It is now known to be responsible for mood, health and even the way you think. The ENS (Enteric nervous system) comprises of two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to our rectum.
The largest nerve of our body: The Vagus (Cranial Nerve 10) carries an extensive range of signals from digestive system and organs to the brain and vice versa.1

Fun fact: 90% of serotonin receptors are located in the gut, and 95% of serotonin is produced in the GI (Gastrointestinal) tract.2,3

Serotonin: an important biochemical, which plays a key role in such body functions as mood, sleep, digestion, wound healing, bone health, blood clotting and sexual desire. When its levels are too low or too high it can cause physical and psychological health problems.
Interestingly whenever someone is prescribed an antidepressant such as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), the most common side effects are gut-related, and many people temporarily experience nausea, diarrhea, or gastrointestinal problems. This tells us a lot about what might be going on in the GI system that impacts our mood.

Research at Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology suggests, the ENS may trigger big emotional shifts experienced by people coping with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating and pain. And are in the process of finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that triggers such mood changes.4
Gut microbiota alters nutrient availability and thus influences the release of biologically active peptides from enteroendocrine cells, which in turn can affect the gut-brain axis. For example, the neuropeptide galanin is thought to be involved in many critical neurobiological functions including sleep/wake cycle regulation, feeding, mood, blood pressure regulation and parental behavior.5

Inflammation is known to cause severe abdominal discomfort. But did you know the same inflammatory markers are known to alter ones mood?
Scientific evidence points at those with symptoms of depression frequently exhibit increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, as well as interferon gamma, and C-reactive protein.6

So how can you conquer your Gut?
Through your Diet!
When the balance between the good and bad bacteria is disrupted, diseases may occur.
Research suggests eating a healthy, balanced diet such as the Mediterranean diet and avoiding inflammation-producing foods may be protective against depression.7,8 
Avoiding high sugar, preservative and artificial additive-rich canned foods; and preferring antioxidant-rich fresh fruits, vegetables, fiber rich grains, probiotics (like yogurt, kefir), protein rich lean meats and seafood is a solid move to boost your Gut Health and eventually your overall Mood.

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