Gut-Brain Connection and Probiotics

Gut is also known as “the second brain.” Because scientists have found an enteric nervous system inside of this organ. It contains more than 100 million nerve cells, running from esophagus to rectum. When you feel “butterflies in your stomach” when feeling nervous, or “go with your gut” when making a decision, it is your second brain trying to give you advice. This newly established gut-brain connections help elucidate the treatment effectiveness of antidepressants and medical hypnotherapy. Probiotics, the bacteria living in your gut, help those two brains talk.

Specifically, they can modulate neurotransmitters, which are chemicals signals released by brain cells neurons to create a lot of cognitive functions, such as writing a letter. Specific neurotransmitters involved include norepinephrine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and corticotropin releasing factor. On the other hand, probiotics can downregulate proinflammatory cytokines through anti-inflammatory modulation. Probiotics can also prevent dendritic atrophy, promote synaptic connections, and neurogenesis. Finally, they also involve in producing short-chain fatty acids that can cross the blood-brain barrier and induce antidepressant effects. While the actual therapeutic effects of probiotics also depend on other factors, such as strains, dosing, and condition, there is a suggesting important connection between probiotics and proper neurological function.