Image: The foods we eat determine the balance of bacteria in our gut which
influences the brain and mental health (Mark Lund (Getty))
Yes it's true....science is now starting to call the human gastro intestinal tract our second brain. Way back it was Hippocrates who said that 'all disease begins in the gut' and our naturopathic training is founded on this philosophy. Our gastrointestinal lining is home to the gut microbiome - a rich biodiverse and biochemically active 'sludge' basically - that is more complex than anyone could possibly have imagined - although we have imagined it and now science is telling us in long polysyllabic words.
How our gut microbiome functions has a direct impact on our brain - mood, behavour and appetite. It is yet more evidence to support eating a diet rich in plants and taking recommended probiotics after being unwell.
To listen to this fascinating evolving topic on how brain functioning maybe found outside the brain...
Click here to access Radio National program 'All in the Mind'
Dr James Greenblatt on the workings of our gastrointestinal tract, and the role of its bacteria.
"The microbiome is the collection of bacteria in the GI tract, and for years we always thought that our thoughts and our feelings affect our GI tract, so we might get stomach aches, we might get diarrhoea when we are nervous. But over the past 20 years or so we now understand that the gut can affect brain function. The amount of bacteria that we harbour in our GI tract is massive. There are more cells, more bacterial cells in our gut than there is in our entire body, three to four pounds of total weight of bacteria, and what we are finding is that this collection of bacteria, this microbiome if you will, has tremendous neurophysiological effects on mood and behaviour and appetite."