One of my primary approaches to healing involves addressing our gut. When we speak of strengthening the physical body it is necessary first to focus on our core which incorporates the abdominal, back, and pelvic musculature. When we build a house, the foundation must be strong, otherwise it may fall easily by the slightest wind, rain, or storm.
Our gut is more than muscle, stomach, and intestinal tissue.
Upon conception (joining of the sperm and egg) the single cell undergoes multiple cell divisions as it grows and develops. The cell is organized internally in such a way that there are areas within it which are destined to become specific tissues and organs. Specifically, the gut and the brain are derived from the same area inside the cell called the neural crest. Due to the common origin of the brain and gut, the nutrients which feed both and the substances they produce are essentially the same. In fact, one could argue that if you have a healthy gut, your brain will be healthy by default because THEY ARE THE SAME.
I see many patients who are depressed. Pharmaceutical companies urge physicians to consider prescribing anti-depressant medications such as Prozac or Paxil which artificially increase “feel good” neurotransmitters (hormone-like substances) in the brain. Common neurotransmitters include serotonin and dopamine. It is a myth that these neurotransmitters exist only in the brain.
Many people use “dope” (street drugs) to artificially increase their dopamine and serotonin levels. Athletes such as Lance Armstrong have been busted for “doping” with illegal substances for their performance enhancing effects.
Did you know?
- 90% of the serotonin is located in the gut.
- 50% of dopamine is located in the gut. Smoking marijuana and/or cigarettes increase dopamine directly only for a short time. You may describe a drug addict as someone who “smokes dope”. Smokers and “weed-heads” are practically guaranteed to have low dopamine levels requiring them to self-medicate with Marlboro’s or so-called blunts (aka marijuana).
- The brain and the gut come from the same cellular tissue at conception.
- 85% of our immune system is located in our gut which houses 90% of the cells in our body. These cells are the probiotics, or live bacteria. Only 10% of the cells in our body are uniquely human. The others include bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, among others.
- When you talk to yourself, you are actually having a conversation with your gut flora, among others. Are you having a conversation with good neighbors, or are you having an argument with members of the neighborhood in your gut that you wish would move out of your body?
The conversation with your gut might go like this: Mmm, should I eat these chocolate bars that Ms. Smith just gave me or the salad and homemade delicious soup that my grandma prepared? What would your gut say? It depends on who is present. If you have an over-abundance of bad gut bacteria, parasites, or yeast, they will respond the loudest and that is to whom you will listen.
If the yeast are giving you a shout-out, they will tell you that you absolutely need that sugar. Why? Because they cannot live without it. They survive on sugar and lack of oxygen. They thrive and spread like Bay-Bay’s kids, spreading to different neighborhoods throughout the body and partying along the way.
They let you know they are not only present, but thriving by giving you signs and symptoms such as itchy feet (athlete’s foot), ringworm, bad breath, diaper rash and thrush as a baby, yellow nails, and many others.
Do you listen to your gut? Have you had a gut feeling lately? I suggest you turn up the volume in your gut with good bacteria. Add fermented foods and consider adding a probiotic such as MegaPro which is an excellent source of good bacteria to keep your brain and gut healthy. MegaPro can be purchased at Dr. Byron’s office and coming soon via the clinic website.