Brain Health Affects Digestion

Brain Health Affects Digestion

Dr Datis Kharrazian

Brain health affects digestion! While listening to my functional medicine teacher, Dr. Datis Kharrazian, who in my opinion is brilliant, I began to see that, as we get older and our brain usually degenerates. It doesn’t work as well. It affects how our digestion/gut works. An unhealthy aging brain can bring on gut problems such as IBS, (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) etc. If you have gut problems and spent a lifetime working on them from the neck down, as I have, here is new information that might help you resolve them.

Brain Health Affects Digestion: How the Body Works:

The parts of the brain that are connected to the gut are the frontal cortex, the insular cortex. This is the part that locates the gut for the brain. If  it’s not working well, you will have serious problems! There is also the hypothalamus. These parts of the brain stimulate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve  in turn stimulates the enteric nervous system, which is responsible for intestinal motility, digestive enzymes and much more.

This system actually works in both directions. The brain stimulates the gut to work properly and the gut stimulates to brain to work properly. Failure in one causes failure in the other, and they are in constant communication with each other.

If I still have your attention, what that means is that if you have gut problems, the solution might lie in stimulating your brain and doing things to improve brain health!

The brain has many different neurons and receptors that fire it: 90% of that firing stimulates a part of the brain called the pons which then stimulates the vagus nuclei which, in turn, stimulates the gut.  The vagus nerve is responsible for gall bladder contractions, hydrochloric acid production in your stomach, digestive enzymes in the small and large intestine, bile production, and motility in the small and large intestine. That’s a lot riding on a properly working vagus nerve, which runs from your brain all the way into the gut!

Early Signs of Neuro-degeneration: Digestive Problems.

You may have a perfect diet, but if your brain isn’t firing and stimulating the vagus nerve, your digestion will not work properly.

Also, if you live your life in the sympathetic nervous system, aka the “Flight and Fight” nervous system, because you are stressed out or you just don’t feel safe in life, you are probably not getting enough blood supply to your digestive system, and you will have problems.

Here are some easy ways to stimulate your brain:

1)    Exercise daily! Do at least 20 minutes of brisk walking or some other aerobic exercise.

2)   Buy a computer brain exercise software program such as Lumosity or Brain Fitness Program.

3)    Make sure you are taking the supplements suggested in my prior newsletters,  such as Omega 3, DHA, methylation support, etc.

4)    If you are depressed, look into nutritional support with amino acids to stimulate your brain. Please see a nutritionist who specializes in this.

 For more, especially on how stress affects your gut, read this.

Wishing you a healthy summer