Our Second Brain

Our gut has been the object of much research these this last decade and has been referred as a second brain, due to its sophisticated system of nerves with connections and chemical messages of similar complexity to the brain.

It’s not so odd then that we often speak of our core as an motional center: stomach cramps in period of stress, knot is the stomach when upset, butterflies in the belly when you meet someone you love, a “gut” feeling or even the core as the reserves of strength and self confidence.

According to the book by Giulia Enders called “Gut: The inside story of our body’s most underrated organ”, there is an estimated 10-15% involvement of the gut when we are stressed, angry, depressed. One of his main functions is to transmit messages regarding our internal flora which can have either soothing or worrying effects.

You’ve probably heard or read about the microcosm that exists within our gut, of a variety of bacteria? Certain foods, alcohol, drugs, antibiotics can have a detrimental impact on the bacterial balance of the gut. This can lead to imbalances of the microbiome. In today’s world we’ve been made to think that we need to lead a war on bacteria (wash your hands, use whites, drink bleach!) but actually we are made of more bacterial cells than human cells (aren’t we gross!).

What this suggests is that one of the avenues to tackle mental health (not suggesting this should be the only approach as we know mental health conditions are multifaceted) could be to pay attention to our gut. Observing what we eat and how it affects us, detaching ourselves from the “comfort” feeling some sugars/ alcohol procure but actually connecting to our body’s reaction: cramps? loose stools? rush of saliva? teeth grinding? localised pain?… Maybe looking into probiotic foods (kimchee, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, kefir) or probiotic supplements could help restore the macrobiotic balance in your gut and therefore lessen some symptoms?

Food for thought 🥦💭

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