Ever felt butterflies in your tummy when you’re a bit on edge? Do you believe in gut feeling? Or gut instincts? Well, there’s a reason for all of these – the gut-brain connection! It turns out that there are as many neurones (nerve cells) in your gut as in your spinal cord. You already know keeping your gut healthy is vital for good digestive health. But could it also be important for emotional health, too?
Let’s talk gut
|The digestive system|
As well as the tissue and organs associated with digestion, millions of beneficial bacteria or probiotics (which literally means ‘for life’ in Greek!) live in your intestine and they contribute to digestion. A baby has a sterile gut before birth but beneficial bacteria start to colonise the intestines during birth and as a baby goes on to eat.
In fact, your body carries trillions of microorganisms on the body and in it – in the mouth, the reproductive organs and most of all in the intestines. In fact, there are more bacteria in your large intestine than there are humans on earth – that’s a lot of bacteria!
|Communication is a|
As well as breaking down otherwise indigestible fibre, making vitamins B and K and helping to keep the disease-causing bacteria at bay, probiotics produce chemical signals which communicate with your brain. The gut has been described as a second brain – it contains up to 100 million neurons – as many as the spinal cord says Michael Gershon, professor of anatomy and cell biology at Columbia University, New York.
Getting back to gut instincts
|E coli causes serious|
More research is revealing that just as the brain influences gut bacteria, bacteria can also influence the brain. In this way, bacteria may even affect your mood and emotions. Some studies have shown raising Bifidobacteria increases the levels of tryptophan in the blood. Tryptophan is a precursor of the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin. And serotonin is released when you have had an enjoyable meal and feel calm and rested.
Your brain holds two to three per cent of your body’s serotonin store; a massive 90 to 95 per cent of your serotonin lies in the gut. Some experts suggest that with such a strong gut-emotion connection, troubles with your gut may also be linked with negative emotions and even poor sleep.
Keep your gut happy, keep you happy?
After 30 days, the volunteers who had taken probiotics showed decreases in anger and depression and better problem-solving ability. Following this, another analysis showed similar mood-boosting effects in people who were less stressed to begin with.
But the exact mechanism of action isn’t yet known. It may be that the gut-brain link means that if gut bacteria affect function in the brain, probiotics which aid digestive functions may cut stress and therefore boost mood. Others point to the anti-inflammatory action of probiotics which may affect the activity of areas of the brain associated with mood including anxiety. Or, it could be that probiotics produce neurotransmitters which then act directly or indirectly on the brain. Plus, the fact that probiotics affect glycaemic control could be the link as glucose intolerance has been associated with the development of depression.
So whether you believe probiotics have a specific effect or a regional one, there is one area of your body that probiotics have a proven beneficial action on. And that’s your gut.
Age old medicine
So what makes a good probiotic?
According to scientists at London’s Royal Free hospital, a good probiotic needs to:
1. Reach the gut without being killed off by strong stomach acids along the way
2. Be safe for human consumption
3. Have clinically proven health benefits demonstrated by scientific trials
4. Have their contents clearly defined
5. Be clearly labelled
6. Be shelf stable.
USANA’S Probiotic ticks all the boxes!
|USANA's Probiotic ticks|
all the boxes!
Tests have proven that the species survive through the acidic stomach environment and are able to reach the intestines and do their beneficial work in the intestine.
Verified to supply 12 billion Colony Forming Units (CFU) of viable bacteria – a level shown to be effective in clinical studies.
USANA's Probiotic advanced delivery system guarantees the bacteria will remain effective for at least 18 months when stored at room temperature. Try some today!
USANA® Probiotic is dairy- and sugar-free.
The stick pack formulation provides a high effective dose with a much longer shelf life than most yogurt-type products out there. And, it’s great if you don’t consume cow’s milk products – use straight out of the packet or mix with any cold food or drink.
Regularly taking USANA Probiotic plus Fibergy® Plus (which acts as a prebiotic for your natural, beneficial bacteria to flourish) can help your digestive system work efficiently, and help line the wall of your gut to keep it healthy.
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