That “Gut Feeling” and the Gut-Brain Connection

There really is something to that “Gut Feeling”. The Gut-Brain connection is a HUGE topic that so many people want to learn more about. We are so proud of everyone who attended our workshops; information is power! With so much information to share, this blog is a two-parter. First up, Dr. Willow, ND and Jana share their insights and top tips. On Friday, Nadia will share her takeaways from the Gut-Brain Connection workshop.

Part 1

Key Messages from Dr. Willow, ND

  1. What is the gut-brain connection? Research is finding that a leaky gut can mean a “leaky brain” – destruction of the protective blood-brain barrier (BBB), leading to activation of the brain’s immune system resulting in brain inflammation. This can contribute to depression, anxiety, brain fog and fatigue, among other symptoms. Your gut is also your “2nd brain” – the enteric nervous system (ENS), made up of millions of neurons. The gut-brain connection refers to a two-way link between the central nervous system and the enteric system. Signals from the gut are sent to the brain within milliseconds (the blink of an eye) and vice versa. Therefore, the state of your gut health, including inflammation and the types and numbers of bacteria present, could play a vital role in your mental and cognitive health. Lastly, although serotonin is well known as a brain neurotransmitter (our “happy hormone”), it is estimated that up to 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract. Beneficial gut bacteria have been found capable of producing and delivering these hormones like serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which act on the gut-brain axis, and may affect mood.
  2. Leaky gut is a common obstacle to a healthy gut-brain connection. For more information on leaky gut, including some of the causes and symptoms that Dr. Willow discussed, see this helpful article from mbgheath.  Healing a leaky gut requires identifying and removing the cause(s) and then healing the gut; often by what is termed the “4R” approach: Remove (the triggers), Replace (enzymes, bile), Reinoculate (beneficial bacteria), and Repair (intestinal integrity).
  3. Food sensitivities are a very common cause of leaky gut (e.g. non-celiac gluten sensitivity) and their symptoms can mimic those of leaky gut. These can be identified either by elimination diet or food sensitivity blood testing, which tests for the amount of IgG antibody in your blood against over 100 foods. See here for more information on food sensitivity testing that Dr. Willow, ND uses in her practice.

Did you know that most Insurance Companies cover Naturopathic Doctor’s visits? Check with your provider to see if you are covered.

Key Messages from Jana

  1. Breathe – Diaphragmatic breathing takes in 600% more oxygen than the shallow collar bone breathing we commonly do. Inhale through your nose and feel your belly rise toward the ceiling. On your exhale out of the mouth, think of the belly sinking back in toward your spine. 8-10 breaths like this three times a day will not only calm you, it will also oxygenate the trillions of cells that make you who you are!
  2. Block Therapy – Block Therapy is such a key tool to implement into your life. Our poor postural patterns create a lack of blood flow to the gut and all of its critical processes are impacted in a negative way. The Block helps to restore blood flow, improve posture and really does feel like you are turning back the hands of time. Consider adding a Block Therapy class or a Block Therapy Intensive class to your regular schedule to start reaping the benefits that Block Therapy has to offer. We have an amazing Intro Offer – one month of Unlimited Classes for $99 so you can get started today!

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