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Maybe you have kids to feed. Or a business to run.
Maybe there has been some kind of dramatic change in your life. Or maybe you are juggling so many projects that you wish there were more hours in a day.
Whatever the reason, most of us have at one point or another pushed our body beyond its comfort level to the point of physiologic stress.
Irregular eating patterns and lack of sleep may seem like nothing more than a small sacrifice for the bigger picture - the job, the schedule, or the kids. However, an even bigger picture envelops these demands: the stress response system of the body.
The inflammatory response seen in those with a permeable gut/permeable blood brain barrier can be chronic while at the same time being an acute condition. Meaning, it's always there, and sometimes there are flare-ups. This is an extreme situation.
It's important to know that simple stress also creates an inflammatory response. This is common and not what most would consider extreme.
The brain and gut share a very close relationship. Both lack pain receptors in the epithelial tissue. Both also produce neurotransmitters; however, the gut produces a significantly larger amount than the brain - up to 90%. Linked together by the vagus nerve, the gut and the brain each have an acute sensitivity to the status of the other. For example, in numerous trials, an injury to the head has been shown to lead to gut permeability. And alternatively, leaky gut has been shown to affect brain function in very significant ways without any gastrointestinal manifestations. (1)(2)
Not getting enough sleep regularly can create a pattern in your brain that leaves you vulnerable to neural degeneration!
For example, you skip a meal, or you get 4 -6 hours of sleep instead of your usual 8 hours. No big deal, right? Well, these events activate a stress response. An occasional drop in blood sugar or a late night out with friends is no cause for sustained alarm.
However, if it becomes a pattern, your brain creates a deep pathway for it. This is called limbic system plasticity. And what it means is that you become more prone to activating a sympathetic nervous system fight or flight response.
It's important to note that once you fatigue your brain, endure sustained stress, and circulate high levels of cortisol, thereby degrading the hippocampus or weakening the blood brain barrier, you are more prone to neural inflammation and degradation. Once this happens, the gut becomes inflamed.
Body Ecology Probiotic Beverages, Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes, and Assist SI will help mitigate gut permeability. Gut flora is an important aspect of the gut mucosal barrier. Additionally, gut permeability happens in the small intestine, where nutrients are being transferred into the bloodstream. Enzymes are most active in the upper gastrointestinal tract, which includes the small intestine, and will assist in the digestion of and absorption of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Donna Gates recommends the following adaptogenic herbs for stress:
Stress can induce an inflammatory response in specifically the hippocampus center of the brain, which leads to an aging cascade in the brain and throughout the body. This is particularly relevant in the gut, where we often see a direct mirror of the brain's health. Likewise, a compromised digestive tract will affect the whole body and will specifically show in blood brain barrier permeability.
Ensuring that the gut mucosal barrier is intact is one way to protect not only the gut by warding off an inflammatory response, but this also protects the health of your brain. It is important to include a full spectrum enzyme when working with any kind of gut disharmony, systemic inflammation, or compromised brain function.
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