Gut Brain Axis: The Surprising Connection in Between

Dixie on July 29, 2020
gut brain

The Surprising Connection between the Gut Brain Axis

Have you ever thought about what the gut-brain axis is?

The “Trust your gut instincts” are more than just a figure of speech; there is a scientific explanation of why your stomach does it. It goes farther up north as it has something to do with your mental health.

Understanding the connection between your gut and brain is necessary. This is so you can maintain healthy physiological and mental health.

The Nervous System: Your Body’s ‘Electrical Wiring’

A network of nerves and fibers, the nervous system sends impulses between various body parts. 

gut brain

The central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) is the hub. 

In addition, the peripheral nervous system is the link to other organs and muscles.

The gut has its own brain known as the enteric nervous system.

Furthermore, the second brain regulates the release of enzymes that break down food.

Not only that, but it also controls blood flow that aids with nutrient absorption to expulsion.

The Gut Brain Axis: the Information Superhighway

gut brain

The brain has a direct effect on the gut and vice versa. 

A troubled intestine can signal the brain, just as an unsettled brain can signal the gut. This is clear in the gut microbiota composition.

As a result, your stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause of anxiety, stress, or depression. 

Now you know why you might have nausea before a presentation.

When you’re nervous before a stage debut, your brain communicates that anxiety to your gut.

Having said that, this is all made possible by the gut-brain axis crosstalk.


The chemical messengers of the body, neurotransmitters, also connect your gut and brain through neurotransmission.

Neurotransmitters produced in the brain control feelings and emotions. Serotonin is one example that contributes to feelings of happiness. 

Interestingly, your gut cells and the trillions of microbes living there also produce a serotonin boost. 

In addition to that, your gut microbes also form a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

With that being said, GABA helps control feelings of fear and anxiety.

Gut Microbes Affect the Brain Through Other Chemicals

The microbes in your gut also make other chemicals that affect how your brain works. 

Your gut microbes produce a lot of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as:

  • Butyrate
  • Propionate
  • Acetate 

They make SCFA by digesting fiber. SCFA affects brain function in several ways, such as reducing appetite.

Gut microbes also metabolize bile and amino acids to produce other chemicals that affect the brain.

In line with this, bile acids are chemicals made by the liver that is linked to taking in dietary fats. 

However, they may also affect the brain.

Top 3 nutritional hacks to improve your gut brain health

Realizing that your gut microbiota influences your mental health, you must look at how to keep a healthy composition of gut bacteria. 

Let’s have a look at three players involved in keeping your gut healthy.

1. Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts which help keep your digestion in check. They are akin to the bacteria already lying in your gut. 

Probiotics help your body keep a healthy microbiota. This also helps restore it to a healthy condition after being disturbed. 

Not only that, probiotics help prevent gut inflammation and other intestinal problem.

Here are food sources rich in probiotics to add to your diet:

  • Fermented vegetables
  • Coconut kefir
  • Natto
  • Kvas
  • Yogurt
  • Kimchi
  • Pickles
  • Sourdough bread
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh

2. Prebiotics

Prebiotics are dietary fiber promoting growth for the good bacteria in your gut. 

With that said, this helps the gut bacteria produce nutrients for your colon cells.

As a result, a healthier digestive system. 

Prebiotics can also boost probiotics. Hence, they can become a powerful combo when combined.

These nutrients include short-chain fatty acids such as:

  • Butyrate
  • Acetate
  • Propionate

Include these prebiotic-rich foods listed below in your diet:

  • Asparagus
  • Dandelion greens
  • Bananas
  • Leeks
  • Chicory
  • Garlic
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Spring onions
  • Whole grains

3. Antibiotics

Antibiotics help treat issues by fighting off the bad bacteria in your gut. 

Sometimes, antibiotics eliminate even the good bacteria in your gut. This is due to the efforts to fight infection. 

Studies have shown that after even six months, good bacteria eliminated by antibiotics are still absent in your gut. 

Therefore, take antibiotics only when prescribed by the doctor. So as to prevent health concerns that may lead to antibiotic resistance. 

Why Choose Willow Place for Women?

Here at Willow Place for Women, we help our clients understand what they can do to improve their overall well-being and start a new healthy, and happy journey!

Our therapy and educational sessions work specifically to address the underlying causes of eating disorders.

In addition to that, we teach helpful relapse prevention skills to help women establish true and meaningful healing. Specific services available in this program include:


Dialectical behavioral therapy intends to help individuals change negative thought patterns. We help you put an end to eating disorder behavior.

Once a person is more in charge of the way they think, they can take control of how they behave.

This specific therapy includes individualized sessions. We allow participants to speak with a cognitive-behavioral therapist in a safe and secluded environment.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Before true healing can begin, you must accept their issues and commit to a life of recovery.

This type of therapy involves helping individuals accept their eating disorder condition. Plus, dedicate their lives to healing and recovery.

Nutritional Groups

Group therapy sessions allow individuals in treatment to understand that you’re not alone.

Here at Willow Place for Women, you’ll have the opportunity to socialize with others dealing with similar situations.

Process Groups

Since we offer daytime outpatient treatment, those enrolled in the PHP will have the weekends to themselves.

However, we want to make sure that all women in our care get the support they need every day.

Therefore, before and after each weekend, we offer process groups.

During these groups, individuals set goals and discuss occurrences on the weekends.

Interpersonal Process

This type of individualized therapy aims to discover the underlying causes of eating disorders. Once determined why an eating disorder develops, our therapists can determine the best treatment for you!

Supportive Therapies

Our clients enrolled in eating disorder PHP can take advantage of a number of supportive therapies at Willow Place for Women.

We aim to provide additional support throughout the process of recovery. These include:

  • Art therapy
  • Movement therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Family involvement

Willow Place for Women is a women’s only outpatient eating disorder, trauma, and substance use disorder treatment facility.

We offer online treatment for your wellbeing during this uncertain time of the COVID-19 virus. 
Contact us today to tell us about what you’re dealing with. 828-707-6084

Request a Call Back

If you or someone you love is battling substance use, mental health, or eating disorders, please feel free to contact one of our trained admission specialists today. All calls are free and completely confidential. While we know that suffering from a severe and life-threatening substance use disorder or a mental health issue can, at times, seem insurmountable, we sincerely believe that every woman is capable and deserving of the opportunity to recover. Reaching out is the first step – give us a call today and we will gladly walk you through the process of beginning your beautiful, fulfilling journey of recovery.

Note: Your details are kept strictly confidential.