Health & Fitness

Gut Is Second Brain, Second Microbiome

Kristen Sparrow • March 03, 2020

The Gut is called the Second Brain, but there may be even more linkages through gut bacteria. 

I’ve been interested in vagal activity for longer than I want to admit (it might reveal my age) and it turns out that it’s more and more relevant to general health. We spoke about a possible autism link here.

But even conditions including depression, autism and neurodegenerative disease are now being linked to these tiny creatures.

We’ve known for centuries that how we feel affects our gut – just think what happens before an exam or a job interview – but now it is being seen as a two-way street…

The brain is the most complex object in the known universe so how could it be reacting to bacteria in the gut?

  • One route is the vagus nerve, it’s an information superhighway connecting the brain and the gut.
  • Bacteria break down fibre in the diet into chemicals called short-chain fatty acids, which can have effects throughout the body.
  • The microbiome influences the immune system, which has also been implicated in brain disorders.
  • There is even emerging evidence that gut bugs could be using tiny strips of genetic code called microRNAs to alter how DNA works in nerve cells.