Jessie Girl blog was founded on and inspired by my struggle with gut health. Improving my gut health led me to learn about the gut-brain connection. The gut-brain connection is fascinating and has SO much to do with our overall health.
I want to dive deeper into the gut-brain connection with you!
Gut-Brain Connection Overview
The gut-brain connection is a bidirectional communication system between the gastrointestinal tract (the gut) and the central nervous system (the brain).
This connection involves the vagus nerve (the vagus nerve is queen), gut microbiota, neurotransmitters, hormones, immune responses, and psychological factors. The gut-brain connection influences various aspects of health, including digestion, mood, and overall well-being, and disruptions in this axis have been linked to a range of health conditions.
The gut-brain connection is getting more and more attention. It has led to emerging therapies and interventions (I.e., lifestyle changes) to improve gut and brain health.
P.S. I’ll do a blog post on the vagus nerve because she’s fascinating.
Why is gut health important?
Our gut health has a profound impact on our overall health and well-being.
The gastrointestinal system, often called the “second brain,” is central to several critical bodily functions.
First and foremost, it governs digestion and nutrient absorption, ensuring that our body receives the essential elements for energy and vitality. Moreover, the gut houses a substantial portion of our immune system, helping to defend against harmful invaders and maintain our overall health.
The state of our gut also has implications for inflammation. When my gut health was very out of whack, I was intensely inflamed, and I didn’t even realize it until the inflammation started to go away.
A healthy gut microbiome helps regulate inflammation throughout the body, reducing the risk of autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers. Notably, the gut-brain connection highlights how gut health can influence mental health. It produces neurotransmitters and communicates with the brain, and an imbalanced gut microbiota can contribute to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety – fascinating, right?!?!?
Furthermore, gut health plays a role in weight management, affecting metabolism and appetite regulation. It can influence the development of digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease, etc. Additionally, it is linked to skin health (hello acne) and allergies.
How do we get a healthy gut?
Honestly, like anything health-related, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer.
There is still a lot to discover with gut health, so unfortunately, pinpointing what is wrong if you are struggling with gut issues could be more about the process of elimination.
Below are ways to maintain and improve your gut health:
- Diverse Diet
- Limit sugar and processed foods
- Manage stress
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Limit antibiotic use (Use antibiotics only when necessary and as prescribed by a healthcare professional, as they can disrupt the gut microbiome.)
- Avoid excessive alcohol use and smoking
- Consider supplements (I love supplements)
*Don’t be discouraged if you are struggling with gut health issues. There is still a lot to discover with gut health, so pinpointing what is wrong if you are struggling could take a hot second (just being honest). Be patient and consistent. Advocate for your body and treat it kindly. Do the things listed above. If needed, – find a holistic doctor you love. You will heal with time – I promise! xo