The gut-brain axis & you
Much has been written on the gut-brain axis in recent years. But few people properly grasp the importance of the connection between gastrointestinal health and cognitive performance. Let's take a look at the gut-mind connection in more detail.
What is the gut-brain axis?
The gut-brain axis is the term we give to the connection between the enteric nervous system - in the gut - and the brain.
The digestive system actually contains an enormous amount of neurons. So numerous are the neurons in the enteric nervous system that they outnumber those found in a rat's brain. Because the amount and density of neurons in the gut outmatches some intelligent animals, many researchers have referred to the enteric nervous system as the "second brain".
The gut-brain axis is the connection between this "second brain" and the actual brain!
The enteric nervous system and the brain communicate with one another via the Vagus Nerve. The communication is bi-directional - the gut talks to the brain as much as the brain talks to the gut.
It's not wonder then that so many studies have found that manipulating gut microbiota affects multiple different measures of cognitive function.
Taking prebiotics has been found to dramatically improve memory function, learning capacity, and support better mood over the long-term.
Simply eating more fiber has been found to positively influence cognition.
If you want to enhance cognitive function, it might be time to start focusing less on the brain and more on your gut!