May 26, 2017; by Tony Isaacs (Silver Bulletin e-News Magazine) New Discoveries Shed Light on Our Brain in the Gut: In 2010 a groundbreaking study found that we have, in essence, a second brain in the gut and that the term “gut instinct” was more true than we realized. Now a 2016 study has found that a part of our immune system contained within the gut may play a role in how we interact socially. Following is a report on why we have found that it is more important than ever to have a healthy gut and healthy immune system:
Our Essential Microbiota Colony in the Gut
The transition into this 21rst Century exploded with new information regarding gut bacteria and the importance of enhancing gut probiotic (friendly) bacteria through the right foods and supplements. At first, the focus was on friendly gut bacteria’s importance for digestion. Then discoveries evolved to its “second brain” function with the monitoring and assisting the immune system.
The term microbiota describes an ecological community of symbiotic supportive microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses within its host. The pathogenic microbes occupying a microbiota colony should ideally be in an extreme minority, 15 percent or less.
When that balance is upset by an increase in pathogenic microbes or a decrease in its overall population, serious immune system deficiencies open the door to both pathogenic and autoimmune diseases. Even stress has a negative impact on our microbiota and its friendly bacteria.
The term microbiome describes the collective genome or genetic activity involved with these colonies, of which the largest and most studied are within the gastrointestinal system or gut. Even the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), a government agency, has made millions available for research centers since 2008 with its Human Microbiome Project.
Recent Studies Discover Behavioral and Psychological Implications of Gut Microbes
A University of Virginia (UVA) Medical School 2016 study published in the journal Nature came up with another potential for our immune system’s second brain to influence our behavior.
The recently discovered enteric nervous system is a nervous system that resides in the gut. It’s called the second brain because in addition to communication with central nervous system’s brain in our skulls, it can act on its own as a source of many unconscious biochemical and organ activities.
UVA researchers isolated a specific immune molecule, interferon gamma and blocked it in mice, creating hyperactivity in parts of their brains and forcing them to be less sociable among other mice. Restoring that molecule restored their willingness to be social again.
Because the gut microbiome is the second brain that influences our first brain’s immune activity, the obvious implication is the second brain’s microbiome has the potential to influence our behavior and personality even more than originally thought.
Jonathon Kipnis, the director of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia annuonced, “I think the philosophical aspects of this work are very interesting, but it also has potentially very important clinical implications.”
Earlier in 2010, Emeran Mayer, professor of physiology, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the UCLA’s School of Medicine stated that scientists were shocked to learn about 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nervous system, which is largely responsible for internal organ function, carries information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around.
New Discoveries Shed Light on Our Brain in the Gut: More recent studies have determined that anxiety, depression, and several pediatric disorders, including hyperactivity, food allergies, and even autism are linked to gastrointestinal microbiome abnormalities. Healthy or unhealthy microbiota are passed on to newborns from their mothers. And we are experiencing more poor pediatric health than ever today.