How right they are! That's why Broccoli People - who brought you The Food Wisdom Ebook series to learn the fundamentals of nutrition - are hitting us with a 4-part Human Microbiota series so you can get clued up about gut bacteria functions, the latest research and the connection between the gut bacteria and your brain.
Knowing this area better can help you understand your body and its principles and make the best choices for your well-being.
The Human Microbiota Series
The human body has trillions of microorganisms from thousands of varieties that are non-human cells, which means that they have different DNA from yours. They are the famous human microbiota or human microbiome (the terms have slightly differences in their meaning, but they are often interchangeable).
This is a fairly new field and one of the most fascinating and promising ones in modern researches! The importance of this topic can’t be overemphasised.
The main source of information used is the website of the Gut Microbiota and Health Section of the European Society for Neurogastroenterology & Motility (ESNM), www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com, which has the mission to promote education and information around this field, and provides lots of resources and news of the latest researches, with easy explanations, and highly recommended!
Part 1: The Communication Between The Gut Bacteria & The Brain
Everything is interconnected, and even what you consider just your body is hosting many other lives inside, and needs them to function. Around 500 to 1000 different species of bacterias live in the intestines, and they are very important for your well-being, including your brain and emotional health! .
Researches have been trying to understand more about the communications going on between the gut and the brain for over 30 years now, and the more they know, the more they find out how complex and amazing it actually is! Right, let’s lay the foundations for this.
There is actually a nervous system in the belly, embedded in the lining covering the oesophagus, stomach, and intestine, with over 500 millions of neurons, and is called the enteric nervous system. It controls the digestive processes and exchanges bi-directional communications with the brain, through the called gut-brain axis , and that’s why you have probably heard before that we may have “two brains” .
So, this communication goes in both directions between the brain and the intestine, much of it going through the famous vague nerve, and researches are trying to find out the possible relationship between this and neurological, brain-related, or behavioural conditions, suggesting that future treatments could include the manipulations of the microbiota composition.
As an example of this, last year the magazine Science trends published the article '“Psychobiotics”, and the science of how gut bacteria can affect the human brain', written by the scientists Campbell and Enck from the Tubingen University Hospital.
Here they call “Psychobiotics” the possible future probiotics or prebiotics that could be used as interventions for brain-related conditions. But so far researches have been done on animals, so there is still a long way before seeing treatments like this or the next generation of probiotics .
The thing is, what we can learn from all this is that keeping a healthy gut is important, maybe for more reasons that we are probably aware of today. So, it’s definitely worthy taking a good care of it, and that’s enough to learn for now!