This article is about gut feeling, its scientific nature and its importance to our health and mental health combined.
Be warned and buckle up as this article has some strong scientific facts about your reality and your functioning.
First interesting fact is that in the digestive system, humans possess 200 000 000 neurons which is the number of neurons found in a dog’s brain. This is how intelligent the gut is. In fact, digestion is an extremely complex task requiring a tremendous neuronal power to break down food into complex molecules that the body need to function properly.
Second interesting fact is that through human evolution, the discovery of fire allowed humans to cook, which made digesting food a lot easier. By saving energy on breaking down food into nourishing molecules, our gut referred the remaining power to the brain and thus allowed it to develop tremendous and complex mental abilities. So in reality, we owe our complex cognitive development to our smart digestive system.
Third interesting fact is that the brain and the gut communicate through the nervus vagus which is an important nerve linking the brain directly to the gut. Imagine a two ways high way going from a station to another. This direct and constant communication has surely important reasons behind it. Communication within nerves is called neurotransmission. In simple words, neurons are like people passing up a box down a line till it reaches the storage. Once this chemical reaches its destination, it sits on a chair where the instruction it holds is read and then applied. The gut and the brain use serotonin to communicate. What is serotonin? Basically, it is the chemical that makes you happy if it’s there and sad if it isn’t.
Fourth really interesting fact is that 90% of serotonin is produced by the gut and is sent to the brain and not vice versa. This is how your gut affects your emotions. Combining all facts we get to the following conclusions:
1- If your gut is feeling good and healthy so will you and if not, well then hello depression and other possible diseases. So think carefully about what you eat and how you eat it. The saying “you are what you eat” is literally correct. Take care of your guts, don’t upset it, don’t awake the beast that has a strong impact on how your brain controls emotions.
2- When you are facing a situation or a decision, your gut feeling is nothing but your brain telling you how it feels about it. So trust in your gut feeling and do what it says as it is nothing but your thoughts’ voice.
Fifth interesting fact is that Serotonin affects dreams and unconscious thinking. So what if Freud’s dearest subconscious was the gut itself? Scientists all over the globe are taking a closer look at the guts and in Nantes hospital in France, a team of doctors is working on diagnosing early stages of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Parkinson’s disease and depression through biopsies taken from the guts. They found out that lesions in the guts are of the same nature of those found in the brain through imagery (MRI).
The gut is surely an open window to understanding the brain.
In China, in the biggest hospital in the world in Canton, abdominal acupuncture on patients presenting with acute muscular pain or depression, associated with cerebral imagery before and after sessions, are showing remarkable improvement in mental activation.
Who’s your gut? your gut is your health and your mental health combined. Take good care of it and listen, listen to it. Trust your gut feeling.
This article is based on medical research lead by numerous doctors internationally such as: Dr. Michael GERSHON in Colombian University of New York – Dr. Michel NEUNLIST in Nantes hospital, France – Dr. Michael SCHEMANN in the Technical University of Munich – Professor Zhi-yun Bo in Canton Hospital, China.
Pictures in this article have been taken from the documentary “Le ventre notre deuxième cerveau”, a film by Cecile Denjean, aired on ARTE TV.