Understanding the Gut/Brain Connection

Understanding the Gut/Brain Connection

April 16, 2018

Throughout the most crucial years of development, your child’s microbiome will increasingly support the healthy development of their brain and allow them to live a more happy and healthy life.

Quite literally, we are what we eat. The foods we consume become the building blocks for our body’s growth. So, it’s important to make sure that you and your child are eating the right foods. In particular, the gut/brain connection is essential for the development of your child’s brain.

THE POWER OF THE GUT/BRAIN CONNECTION

While our gut and our brain may not seem to be related at first glance, they are both an important way to can optimize our health! This is especially important for children as they learn and grow. Nutrition can affect your child’s brain in three ways:

  1. Cells need proper nutrition to function optimally.
  2. Myelin sheath covers each cell’s axon, which acts as insulation. Nutrient deficiencies can weaken this insulation, which can delay nerve-impulse transmission.
  3. Neurotransmitters are affected by the foods we eat, as some nutrients become a part of the neurotransmitters. This includes serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. This is likely the biological explanation for how food affects our mood.

If the gut isn’t efficiently digesting food and absorbing nutrients, the cells, myelin sheaths, and neurotransmitters will weaken. You can think of it like a garden hose. When a garden hose is in good working condition, water flows through freely and with ease. The hose helps focus and flow the water stream in its intended direction.

When a myelin sheath starts to break down from lack of nutrients, it is like the hose having a kink in it that impedes the flow of the water through the hose (or in this case the nerve impulses through the cell axon).  

 

MICROBES ARE VERY MUCH A PART OF US

Microbiome has become one of the latest health “buzzwords” and it is an extremely important topic! The microbiome refers to the ecosystem of microbes that exist in your body (and your child’s body), specifically in your digestive tract. This primarily refers to certain bacteria.

Bacteria are harmful bugs, right? We don’t want bacteria! Or do we? While there are bad bacteria, many types of bacteria are beneficial to your body. In fact, researchers believe that there are about as many bacteria living in our body as there are cells (trillions!). In a sense, we are a big, walking body of functioning bacteria.

That’s not bad, that’s life! Bacteria perform essential functions in our bodies, especially in our microbiome, to keep us strong and healthy. Microbes not only live in our gut, they exist in essentially every part of the human body, from the sinuses in our nose to the tips of our toes and everywhere in between. 

Our bodies provide these bacteria a warm, comfy place to live and have easy access to nutrients. Everyone has beneficial microbes that don’t attack or make our bodies sick – instead, they help us break down our food and provide various other health benefits. 

Our immune systems, meanwhile, are trained not to attack beneficial microbes, but to protect them. (In some instances, the immune system can attack healthy microbes. This can cause autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s Disease.)

 

 

NUTRIENT DENSE FOOD SUPPORTS A HEALTHY BRAIN

A healthy and sharp brain requires a healthy diet and an optimized microbiome. This is especially true for growing children. This growth begins before they’re even born!

When you think of nutrition, you may think of eating dark, leafy greens for eye health, or eating the proper balance of protein, fat, and carbs to build muscle. While nutrient-dense foods are certainly important, you need a healthy gut in order to absorb these nutrients and experience the benefits!

Let’s Break It Down

  • Diet will have a large impact on your child’s microbiome.
  • The right diet can assist with brain development.
  • A healthy microbiome will positively influence other systems, such as your child’s immune system.

They say that a butterfly flapping its wings in London can cause a hurricane in China. That might be a touch dramatic, but what the bacteria do in your digestive tract can have a huge impact on what happens in your brain. 

 

THE MICROBIOME IS A VITAL FOR YOUR CHILD’S HEALTH

From before they’re born, your child’s microbiome is constantly evolving. As they continue to grow, it’s essential to support this crucial piece of the health puzzle, so they grow healthy and strong.

Aside from the positive gut/brain connection, a strong, healthy, and well-cultivated microbiome will be a positive influence on your immune system, muscles, bones, and general growth throughout life. By cultivating your child’s microbiome, you can support strong, healthy development to raise a smarter family!

The gut/brain connection is a crucial piece of your child’s development, but there’s good news! It’s possible to support this through nutrient-dense foods and high-quality probiotics. Your child’s healthy microbiome can support this gut/brain connection as they continue to grow, forming the foundation they need throughout childhood and beyond.




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