The gut-brain axis: how it works and the role of nutrition

Do you know the gut-brain axis? If you have ever felt “butterflies” at the sight of a loved one, or have lost your appetite when you have been stressed, you may be aware that your mind and stomach are connected. But the gut-brain axis is a real phenomenon, and this constant two-way communication, when out of sync, can trigger gut problems and other health problems.

In general, the gut-brain axis is a communication system between the brain and the trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses that live inside your gut. Multiple studies have shown that the composition of gut bacteria can have a profound impact on mental health and the functioning of the nervous system. A healthy diet plays a significant role in shaping this microbiome by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and blocking the buildup of harmful ones. Nutrition can also affect communication along the gut-brain axis, further affecting the connections between the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system.

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