THE GUT–BRAIN CONNECTION

Made up of over 100 million neurons, the gut has its own nervous system: the Enteric Nervous System, often called your second brain.
One of the longest nerves in the body, the Vagus nerve, makes a physical connection directly from gut to brain, transporting messages and keeping the two in constant conversation. Billions of microorganisms inside our gut, known as our microbiome, produce and regulate key neurotransmitters and hormones.

This means that what happens down here is reflected in what happens up there.

WHAT IS THE GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION?

WHAT IS THE GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION?

The gut-brain axis includes physical connection, via nerves and neurons, and biochemical connection via neurotransmitters and hormones. 
 

I THOUGHT MY GUT WAS CONTROLLED BY MY BRAIN?

I THOUGHT MY GUT WAS CONTROLLED BY MY BRAIN?

While your brain is in charge of almost everything there are a few networks in the body that work without the help of the central nervous system.

One of these is the enteric nervous system which controls function across the digestive tract. This complex network of over 100 million neurons is often called the “second brain” because it resembles the one in your head so closely in structure and function.

I THOUGHT THAT BACTERIA IN THE GUT MADE ME ILL?

I THOUGHT THAT BACTERIA IN THE GUT MADE ME ILL?

No, not exactly. While it’s true some bacteria are harmful and cause infections that it’s best to avoid, some bacteria are beneficial and even essential to our survival. We each have a community of billions of bacteria and microorganisms living inside our gut known as our microbiome. 

The microbiome is made up of so many of these microscopic organisms that in total it weighs around 1kg. Because of the size and significance of the microbiome, it’s sometimes referred to as the “invisible organ”.

It would be easy to assume that a healthy microbiome is made up of only good bacteria, but this is not the case. A healthy microbiome is one with diversity. So while it’s important to keep numbers of the good guys up, balancing them with a few of the not so nice ones is an important contributor to good gut health.

I THOUGHT THAT MY GUT WAS ONLY FOR DIGESTION?

I THOUGHT THAT MY GUT WAS ONLY FOR DIGESTION?

A key part of the gut’s role is the breakdown of food, helped by the bacteria living inside our gut known as the microbiome. But the microbiome also does a lot more for us than just working through our lunch.

Specific bacteria within the microbiome produce and regulate key neurotransmitters and hormones. 90% of the “happy hormone” serotonin is produced in your gut, along with other important neurotransmitters related to your mood. The microbiome also impacts the body, with a healthy microbiome influencing sleep, immunity and more.

HOW DOES MY BRAIN KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MY GUT?

HOW DOES MY BRAIN KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MY GUT?

The vagus nerve is one of the longest nerves in the body, making a physical connection all the way from brain to gut and keeping the two in constant conversation. 

The vagus nerve can carry information in both directions. But it’s the gut that does most of the talking. Between 80% and 90% of the messages transported are from gut to brain, and not the other way around.

WHAT CAN I DO TO LOOK AFTER MY GUT?

WHAT CAN I DO TO LOOK AFTER MY GUT?

Good gut health can be achieved by treating digestive problems as they occur and incorporating good gut behaviours into your lifestyle. If you are suffering from specific functional digestive symptoms or disorders such as IBS, then Iberogast® could be beneficial for you as it has been clinically proven1,2 to offer fast-acting relief. 

If your gut feels generally okay, but want to make further improvements to your digestive health then making small changes to your lifestyle could be helpful. Try to reduce your stress levels where possible and exercise regularly. Eat balanced meals, chew slowly and ensure you drink enough water.

A bottle of Iberogast on green background, surrounded by herbs

Iberogast® harnesses the power of herbs to relieve multiple functional digestive symptoms

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.