How the Mind Influences Our Gut Flora and Vice Versa
It is estimated that our gut is host to 100 trillion bacteria, which is three times as many as the cells in our body, and these bacteria live in a symbiotic relationship with us. We provide them with nutrients and an adequate microenvironment, and they in turn provide us with vitamins like B and K, antimicrobial lipids and assist in the digestion of certain foods, among other things.
New research has shown that our microbiome influences our behavior, giving rise to a new field of study called the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Our microbial flora produce significant amounts of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, GABA and acetylcholine which influence our emotional state, energy level, appetite, learning and other functions.
In this cycle of interdependence, our emotional state influences the choice of foods we eat, which in turn influences the quality of nutrients available to our gut flora. As a result of this, neurotransmitter byproducts produced by the bacteria are affected by our diet.
Self-prescribed antibiotic treatment can give rise to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as well as disturbing the healthy microbiome balance. Some antibiotics used with cattle and other farm animals also influence our gut flora via the food we eat, giving rise to unwanted changes in the delicate balance of endocrine/microbiome neuro- transmitters production. This in turn influences our behavior and emotional state.
The health of our immune system and that of microbial diversity in our gut is intimately connected to our emotional state, which in turn influences the way we view our world.
Hypnotherapy and life coaching can be used to transform unproductive habits and limiting beliefs into empowering actions.
Dr. Tomas Sepulveda, with ALAS Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching, can be reached at 520-885-0575 or alaslifecoaching.com.