The Connection Between the Gut & the Brain

The Connection Between the Gut & the Brain

When you think about good health, what comes to mind? For many, it’s eating the right foods and participating in a regular exercise program.

You tend to think of good health as meaning your body is functioning strong and your muscles are well-developed and looked after. But what about your brain health? And, what about all the factors that influence your brain’s health?

One thing that few people ever stop to consider is their gut health. And, there just happens to be high correlation between the state of your gut and the state of your brain...

Let’s explain.  


Gut 101

When we refer to your gut health, we are talking about the environment that is sustained within the confines of your digestive tract. Many factors influence the current state of your gut health, with one of the most notable of them being the level of probiotics you have in your system.
Probiotics are the healthy bacteria residing in your gut and are responsible for ensuring optimal digestion takes place as well as for keeping your immune system strong. What you may not realize is that 80% of your immune system is actually housed inside the gut. 
Meaning, if you gut isn’t healthy, your immune system isn’t going to be optimized to a healthy level. If your immune system is weak, this is pretty much inviting in bacteria and viruses which can then lead to long-term illness.  
Other factors impact your gut as well. This includes your day to day stress levels, the type of foods you eat (processed foods have a negative impact on gut health while non-processed foods encourage greater gut health), whether or not you have used or are using antibiotics (which kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad) along with how much sleep you are getting each and every night.  
Taking care of your gut is critical to support your overall well-being 
So how does this all impact your mind?


The Gut-Brain Axis

The gut is directly connect to the mind, meaning the less healthy your gut is, the less healthy your mental state will be as well.

When your gut is healthy and contains an optimal level of the healthy good bacteria (probiotics), you’ll experience normal behavior, normal cognition, and normal levels of emotion. 

ll in all, you’ll just feel good and like yourself.

On the flip side, when your gut is unhealthy, it will have large impacts on your central nervous system. Those who are experiencing unhealthy gut environments will be at a higher risk for both depression as well as anxiety, as was noted in a study published in the Trends In Neurosciences journal.

Scientists also noted that studies have shown that those who have been exposed to pathogenic bacterial infections, probiotic bacteria, or antibiotic drugs have shown a strong role in the microbiota and the regulation of anxiety, mood, cognition, and pain.

As more and more research is being done in this area, we are noticing that our internal gut environment may have a large impact on our overall well-being and mental states. This makes a strong case for including gut health as part of your overall path to health and well-being.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this - drop a comment below!





Foster, Jane A., and Karen-Anne McVey Neufeld. "Gut–brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression." Trends in neurosciences36.5 (2013): 305-312. 

Cryan, John F., and Timothy G. Dinan. "Mind-altering microorganisms: the impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour." Nature reviews neuroscience 13.10 (2012): 701-712. 




  • Christy Logan

    Love the article. I am a big believer in clean eating and everything starts from the gut. I’m going to share your article to my health and wellness clients. Thanks

  • Eva Dingwall

    What is the best source of probiotics in our food? Are active yogurt cultures the only source? If we are watching dairy, is there another source than yogurt? Sadly, I’ve been on excessive amounts of antibiotics in the last couple of years and I’m concerned about gut health. We’ve made the switch to a much healthier lifestyle, but there are areas I’m still in the dark about.

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