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Microbiota and the Brain: Fascinating Interactions for Wellness

Updated: Mar 1

Touching digital form of digestive system

As a researcher of human nature, I find myself constantly amazed by the complex interactions that occur at the level of our physical body. One of the most fascinating relationships is that between the intestinal microbiota and the brain, which opens a gigantic perspective of knowledge. What is "discovered" today about this relationship had already been revealed in the Orient to seekers of Truth centuries ago. The rational reductionism of laws that are verified by sight has left aside the importance of laws that maintain the balance between the invisible and the manifested world.


We will focus on the relevant function of the intestinal microbiome, since it provides us with a guide to make assertive decisions in our diet. The gut microbiota is a complex ecosystem made up of trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi and viruses. This "virtual organ" plays a fundamental role in digestion, nutrient absorption, immune response and, increasingly evident, mental health.


From birth to adulthood, we maintain a symbiotic relationship with these bacteria, which varies depending on our habits and external factors such as stress and alcohol consumption. It is estimated that around 100,000 trillion bacteria populate our digestive tract, some of which are beneficial and others harmful. When this microbiota is altered, in what is known as dysbiosis, various health problems can arise.


digestive system drawn on man and woman

It is crucial to understand how to improve this microbiota and, to do so, it is necessary to identify which factors negatively affect it. For example, the excessive use of antibiotics can alter these bacteria, as well as the consumption of ultra-processed foods rich in refined sugars. Other factors, such as artificial breastfeeding, cesarean section, alcohol consumption, smoking, chronic stress, lack of sleep and a sedentary lifestyle, can also unbalance the microbiota.


On the other hand, there are practices that promote the health of the microbiota, such as consuming foods rich in polyphenols and prebiotics, as well as fermented foods. Polyphenols, found in foods such as dark chocolate, almonds, green tea, onions, blueberries and broccoli, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Prebiotics, like the fermentable fibers found in fruits and whole grains, feed the good bacteria in the gut and help maintain a healthy gut environment.


Table of variety of vegetarian food

It is important to diversify our diet to diversify our microbiota, since a greater variety of plant foods can improve the effectiveness of our microbiota. In addition, we must take care of our lifestyle and our emotions, as they have been shown to influence our intestinal health and our general health.


Recent research has highlighted the influence of diet in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and senile dementia. The bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain is known as the gut-brain axis. This communication is carried out through different pathways, including the enteric nervous system, the immune system and neurotransmitters.


The interaction between the gut and the brain, especially through the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, has been widely studied and confirmed, showing that they regulate mood, sleep, and anxiety.


They have also discovered that intestinal inflammation can affect communication between the gut and the brain, contributing to depression and anxiety. Furthermore, it has been studied how increased intestinal permeability can allow bacteria and toxins to enter the bloodstream, affecting brain function. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to our diet and habits to maintain an adequate balance in our microbiota.


Additionally, an electromagnetic interaction between the gut and the brain has been discovered, where the gut electromagnetic field can regulate the brain electromagnetic field, affecting processes such as attention and mood. Not the other way around! So it is very important to highlight how these processes influence our body. It is necessary to know that what we think, feel and do is influenced by these electromagnetic factors.


Illustration of relationship between microbiome and brain

In conclusion, our body is a perfectly interconnected machine that we must know and take care of. I invite everyone to explore and delve into the fascinating relationships that exist between our body, our mind and our environment, as revealed to us by modern neuroscience.


 

Key Points for your Well-Being


The balance of the intestinal microbiota can be affected by various factors, such as:

  1. Antibiotics: Excessive use of antibiotics can eliminate beneficial bacteria, creating a favorable environment for pathogenic bacteria.

  2. Diet: A diet rich in refined sugars, saturated fats and processed foods can alter the composition of the intestinal microbiota.

  3. Stress: Chronic stress can increase intestinal permeability, allowing bacteria and toxins to enter the bloodstream.

  4. Lifestyle: Lack of exercise, smoking and sleep deprivation can also affect the gut microbiota.


To maintain a healthy intestinal microbiota, it is important to consume foods rich in:

  1. Biodiversity: A varied diet, especially with different types of vegetables, to create more biodiversity in the type of bacteria and beneficial microorganisms within the microbiota.

  2. Prebiotics: Prebiotic fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut. It is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

  3. Polyphenols: Polyphenols are antioxidants that fight inflammation and protect the intestinal microbiota. They are found in dark chocolate, green tea, berries and nuts.

  4. Probiotics: Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut are rich in probiotics, which are live bacteria beneficial for gut health.

Man looking out into sunset with arms stretched out

2 Comments


Thank you for this wonderful information! I am happy to see it in two languages as well! I shared your Spanish version with my family in Peurto Rico! 💚

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I love all this great info for my health! Thanks so much for sharing!

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