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The Gut/Brain Connection

Many athletes see their nutrition and the foods they eat as just fuel for their bodies, helping them physically recover and energize for the training to come. Many athletes also understand how important being mentally prepared with a clear mind is for optimal performance. Read on to see what Core Health has to say about your gut (digestive system through which food passes through, digestion takes place, nutrients are absorbed & waste is eliminated) and how what you eat can have an impact on your neurological and mental health.

The main goal is to show you that the health of your gut does effect brain health and its proper function. The brain and gut are intimately connected. The brain not only sends signals to the gut, but the gut also sends signals to the brain.

Your Microbiome

The basic definition of the microbiome can be stated as "micro" for small and "biome" for a natural community of flora occupying a large habitat. In this case, it is your gut bacteria. Microbes out number the cells outside and inside our bodies. There are 10,000 species that have been discovered so far.

Each microbe contains its own DNA. Most of these microbes live in our gut. Every one of our cells is influenced by our micro biome and other organisms living in us. Your micro biome effects your mood, libido, metabolism, immune system, perception of the world, and even the clarity of your thoughts.

Scientific studies are continuing to show that the central nervous system, especially the brain is the most sensitive to changes in our microbiome. These bacterial DNA may have more of an impact on your health than your own genomics DNA. The micro biome may as well be considered an organ and scientists are calling this organ the "enteric nervous system". It communicates with the brain by sending signals through the "vagus nerve", the longest nerve of the cranial nerves. The microbiome or the enteric nervous system is created by the same tissues as the central nervous system in the growing fetus. Bacteria in the gut can release chemical messengers through the vagus nerve to the brain. Now that you know the basics of what the microbiome is and its importance, let's quickly discuss some of the functions of the microbiome.

Functions of Your Gut Bacteria

  • Aids in digestion and the absorption of nutrients.

  • Create a physical barrier against potential invaders such as bad bacteria (pathogenic flora), harmful viruses, and injurious parasites.

  • Act as a detoxification machine. The gut's bugs have a role in preventing infections and serving as a line of defense against many toxins that make it down into your intestines. In fact, because they neutralize many toxins in your food, they may also be considered a second liver. So when you decrease the good bacteria in the gut, you increase the workload of the liver.

  • Profoundly influence the immune system's response. Contrary to what you might think, the gut is your biggest immune system organ.

  • Produce and release important enzymes and substances that collaborate with your biology, as well as chemicals for the brain, including vitamins and neurotransmitters.

  • Help you handle stress through the flora's effects on your endocrine-hormonal system.

  • Assist you in getting a good night's sleep.

  • Help control the body's inflammatory pathways.

How to Improve Your Microbiome & Improve Mental Health

  • Daily pH stabilized Probiotics like Digestive Health (also included in our unique formula is probiotics and broad spectrum digestive enzymes)

  • Superfoods like in Core Greens or increase dark leafy greens intake (spinach, kale, mustard greens, etc.)

  • Good fats, especially omega 3 fatty acids like Core EFAs, raw nuts, seeds, chia seeds, coconut oil and avocados

  • Ionized Kangen Water

  • Organic dark chocolate (2-3 pieces per day) - look for lowest amount of sugar

  • Organic fermented foods and drinks rich in probiotics (kombucha tea, pickles, and cultured condiments)

  • Organic raw apple cider vinegar

  • Raw honey (local is best)

  • Probiotics like Granny Smith apples, artichokes, raw garlic, raw onions, cooked onion, or lightly steamed asparagus

  • Positive thoughts and daily affirmations

  • Sunshine and aerobic exercise (daily)

  • Clean protein - wild caught fish or grass-fed beef (don't forget your digestive enzymes to increase the utilization of that protein)

  • Additional foods you can incorporate in your diet to promote gut health: herbs, yogurt, green tea, vegetables, sauerkraut, legumes (beans, lentils, etc.), and lemon

Factors That May Negatively Impact Gut Health

  • Refined sugar

  • Antiobiotics

  • GMO foods

  • Environmental chemicals

  • Alcohol

  • Gluten & dairy

  • Refined oils

  • Negative thoughts

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • Fructose

  • Sport & carbonated drinks

This article is for information and is not intended to replace treatment from a primary care physician or psychiatrist. In fact, any time you want to change your nutrition, you should inform your physician of these changes to ensure you will be safe from any adverse reactions that can occur mixing prescription drugs and foods/supplements.

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