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Whatever you do in life that brings you joy and a sense of fulfillment requires your brain. In fact, every action that you have taken in life, what you are doing right now, and what you will be doing in the future depends on brain function.
The key to a healthy brain is a healthy gut, and after years of research, Donna Gates has created a program that is the necessary foundation to both.
The gut-brain axis relationship involves the enteric nervous system (ENS) and the central nervous system (CNS).
Dr. Michael Gershon is known for bringing these details to light in his book, The Second Brain. The gut, essentially, has a mind of its own and is in constant dialogue with the central nervous system. This cross-talk between the gut and the brain is known as the gut-brain axis.
The gut and the brain are connected by the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is an open line of communication between the central nervous system (the brain) and the enteric nervous system (the gut). When either the gut or the brain experiences an inflammatory response, the other will follow suit.
This is one reason why inflammation is often referred to as fire. Because it can spread quickly like fire and go systemic. Which often happens when either the gut or the brain are involved in an inflammatory response. Besides the obvious signs of heat and swelling, the inflammatory response often triggers a self-perpetuating cycle of oxidative stress and cell destruction.
If your gut is leaky and inflamed, over time this can activate the immune system. Because the enteric nervous system is so connected to the central nervous system, fire in the intestines can go systemic:
Again, this is another vicious cycle because it opens the door for more inflammation.
Many times, longevity or anti-aging clinics will focus on hormone function in order to slow down the aging process. But when we talk about aging, what we are really talking about is neurodegeneration.
Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons. Losing neurons happens naturally as time progresses. Neurodegeneration is paired with fatigue, depression, and digestive issues.
Sometimes we can speed up the process of neurodegeneration without even knowing it. As researchers continue to dig for answers, scientists have already discovered how the immune system, which is mainly housed in the gut, is tied to neurodegeneration:
Much of the research into the brain has revealed a direct and profound link between the brain and the gut. This is called the gut-brain axis.
Some studies highlight what happens during an acute head injury. (4) As incredible as it sounds, an injury to the head will injure the gut! Just after a traumatic brain injury or a stroke:
Studies have also shown that impaired gut function can lead to impaired brain function. Impaired gut function could be:
Impaired gut function has been linked to antibodies that are triggered by neurons! While this sounds like a type of autoimmunity, the biggest concern is the tissue damage associated with antibody attack and the inflammatory response that follows. Once neurons become a target for an immune response, the brain rapidly degenerates. (5)(6)(7)
In order to protect the gut and the brain, it is essential to:
1. Heal the Gut: Body Ecology has created steps that can be tailored to each individual and that address issues of systemic infection, parasites, blood sugar imbalances, and immune dysregulation.
Using the basics provided in the Core Program is a good place to start.
2. Manage Your Stress Response: Whatever it takes to raise cortisol levels is stressful. Stress can include lack of sleep, a cup of coffee in the morning, or overtraining at the gym. Stress can be:
When cortisol levels rise, the body becomes more acidic. The Body Ecology Principle of Acid and Alkaline tells us that when the body becomes acidic, it is prime real estate for pathogenic microorganism overgrowth. Remember, these are inflammatory agents and can lead to permeability.
The digestive system is uniquely related to the central nervous system. When the digestive walls become inflamed, the blood brain barrier also becomes inflamed. Anti-aging is about protecting the brain and limiting neurodegeneration. One way to do this is to make sure the gastrointestinal tract is in optimum health! Food is an everyday choice.
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