Part 5 – Gut-brain communications
Part 5 - gut health and brain health.
Continuing in this 10-Part short series looking at the human microbiome and gut health, in this post today Dawn explains the connections between gut function and brain function.
It’s interesting stuff, and helps to explain one of the ways in which our diet can influence mental health.
Read on Part 5 and learn more, then look out for Part 6 tomorrow.
Imagine a web of communication (some of it wireless) between all our cells. Microbes are the key link in this communication.
A significant proportion of the calories we eat don’t get absorbed into the bloodstream for use by our bodies. Instead, the food is eaten by the microbes further down in our colon. As the microbes eat the food they produce waste products. The waste products are important communication molecules.
Initially, the waste products give signals to our gut lining cells and gut immune cells, starting the conversation, if you like. Thereafter, some of them may get absorbed into our bloodstream and continue the ‘conversation’ anywhere in our body. This can be good or bad, depending on the microbes and what messages they are sending.
The beneficial microbes make helpful communication molecules like short chain fatty acids and vitamins which keep us healthy. Unhelpful and pathogenic microbes produce toxins called Lipopolysaccharides…
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