The gut microbiome is a teeming collection of billions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that have made the human gut their home. This relationship with humans is mainly symbiotic, as they perform many functions for humans, producing all sorts of biologically useful molecules.
The Superhighway: The Gut-Brain Connection
Traditionally, Western science has treated the brain and gut as separate. However, a flood of research in fields such as Functional Medicine has been breaking down this separation over the past decade. As scientists deepen their understanding of the close connection between the gut and brain, we are beginning to appreciate how each impacts the other, our health, and even our mood.
We now know that disruption of the gut microbiome can disrupt brain function. Everything from mood to cravings, depression or energy, can be determined by the bacteria in the microbiome which send messages directly to the brain.
Communication takes place by sending signals through the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system, and this is known as the gut-brain-axis. Communication happens using the lymph system, blood circulation, and the vagus nerve. Much of this communication involves signals released by microbes in the gastrointestinal tract.
There are more neurotransmitters in the gut than there are in the brain!
The gut is directly connected to the nervous system. Besides the central nervous system, there is also another nervous system known as the enteric nervous system which communicates with the brain, but is bi-directional (think gut-brain-axis). Stress in the brain can cause stress in the gut and vice versa, and this can cause cascading effects on the body.
An example of this is Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.
It was initially thought that people were neurotic and that this was what was causing the IBS. But the real problem is that inflammation from the IBS dysbiosis in the gut creates inflammation in the brain, which can cause inflammation, anxiety, and depression.
Did you know that we are in an epidemic of reported gut issues?
The number one reported reason for doctor visits in America is gut related. This includes all the issues that tend to go along with gut issues, such as IBS. In fact…
IBS accounts for 10% of the healthcare costs for major corporations' insurance across the USA.
Just take a moment and go to PubMed and search the word ‘microbiome’ and your condition.
James T. Rosebaume, MD, a chief rheumatologist known for his extensive research on inflammation in the body and studies on the microbiome, has published more than 600 scholarly articles on inflammation and the microbiome. He states that,
“I submit to you that any disease that has an immune component—whether it’s Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, and any disease that you are seeing in your clinics with an immune component—the microbiome is having some effect.”
What Impacts Your Microbiome?
There are three things that can have a devastating impact on your gut microbiome:
- Drugs – Over the counter (OTC) and prescription
- Environmental toxins
There is a lot we could share here, but let’s just take a quick look at the impact of these three on our microbiome, and ultimately, our brain.
OTC drugs such as NSAIDs, steroids, antibiotics, the "Pill", and acid-blocking drugs can all increase pH levels in the gut, and just one of the side effects is IBS.
If you haven't already heard, you may be surprised to learn that a single round of strong antibiotics can destroy 100% of all the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract (aka the “gut”)! These beneficial bacteria are essential to your physical and mental health.
The bottom line is that toxins interrupt normal biology. This disruption can present as cognitive issues, brain fog, chronic fatigue, digestive issues, MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities), SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), bloating, dysbiosis, and more.
Toxins like glyphosate (aka RoundUp) poison mitochondria, jam up enzyme systems, create inflammation and oxidative stress, and directly affect the microbiome.
Heavy metals also affect the microbiome and create stress on the body. Think mercury poisoning (fish, fillings, etc.). In this situation, detox is the key to help remove some of the stress these toxins are placing on the body.
High stress levels cause cortisol levels to rise, and cortisol can create conditions such as leaky gut which can enhance dysbiosis and inflammation, and contribute to hormone imbalance.
Stress can change the microbiome and literally affect the thoughts of a person. When under chronic stress, the body reacts and creates an environment where beneficial bacteria decrease and harmful bacteria can proliferate, creating significant dysbiosis with serious downstream consequences.
Stress can also cause mineral and micronutrient deficiencies. Did you know that magnesium is one of the first targets for stress? Ever get that eye twitch or spasm when really stressed out? Cortisol actually attacks minerals in the body, especially magnesium. It is thought that every twitch, spasm, or cramp in the body can be linked back to a shortage of magnesium.
The bottom line is that if you have been exposed to any or all three of these “gut damaging” things, you will want to be sure to do key things to rebuild your microbiome.
How Do I Rebuild My Microbiome?
There are four things you need to consider when rebuilding your gut. They are:
- Detoxing Agents
Four Things That Help Heal The Gut
#1 The Food You Should Eat
One of the biggest tools you have to rebuild your gut is those colorful veggies. They contain lots of prebiotics, probiotics, and polyphenols. These colorful compounds in plant foods help fertilize the gut.
#2 The Food You Should Not Eat
One of the key things you should avoid are foods such as gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and starch, as they can cause problems such as the overgrowth of candida in the gut. Artificial sweeteners and genetically modified foods (GMOs), or "bioengineered foods" as the FDA refers to them now, can attack the beneficial bacteria in the gut and cause dysbiosis. In short, if it comes in a box or contains additional sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup or aspartame, stay away.
#3 Supporting Your Liver
There are some ways we can support the liver. Eating whole, organic foods with healthy fats is a wonderful way to support the liver. Healthy doses of fatty acids and phospholipids can certainly help. The liver needs methionine and choline to help support natural detox, and these can be found in healthy phospholipids.
Dr. Tennant’s® Liver Detox Tea is an easy way to support healthy liver function. Six drops of Liver Detox Tea, a spoonful of honey, another of coconut oil in a hot/warm glass of water gives you a nightcap that will help support liver function and provide a gentle liver detox.
#4 Detox and Reset
Dr. Tennant’s® Raw Materials™ (Humic and Fulvic acids) are another way the body can support gentle, natural detoxing. Humic and Fulvic acids transport micro and trace nutrients throughout the body and act as a natural detoxing agent, helping carry out free radicals and toxins from the body.
Take a look at Dr. Tennant’s® Microbiome Support. You’ll find that this not only contains healthy digestive support but also plenty of fiber (food for the good bacteria), healthy phospholipids, detoxing agents, and a bundle of immune support to help rebuild a healthy microbiome such as Glutamine, N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) which helps with immune function and intestinal wall integrity, and Glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant.
To support the entire microbiota which includes your microbiome (bacterial) AND your mycobiome (fungal), Dr. Tennant’s® Gut Bootcamp contains Dr. Tennant’s® Microbiome Support to help heal, clean, and reset the digestive tract; Dr. Tennant’s® Probiotics with prebiotics and probiotics in a time-released system to get these bacteria through the stomach acid; and Dr. Tennant’s® Fungal Detox for supporting the fungal portion of the microbiome: the mycobiome. Though this fungal portion only makes up about 3% of the microbiome, it is essential for mood regulation, candida balance, and food cravings.
Now you know...
Your gut health is critical for brain health.
So next time you make food choices, you may be considering more than your waistline.
Featured Products in This Article:
Dr. Tennant’s® Gut Bootcamp:
Helps reset the balance of the microbiome and mycobiome within the gut, in addition to helping the body cleanse and detox while improving intestinal wall integrity, reducing inflammation and supporting immune system modulation and regularity.
specifically-designed proprietary blend to help support and detox the liver.
Dr. Tennant’s® Fulvic Super Concentrate
Fulvic molecules act like “mini-batteries”, providing electrons to charge cell membranes and reestablish cell membrane dynamics, helping restore optimal cellular function.