Your gut is unique to you. It was first created with the help of your mother and then grew over time until it was fully populated around the age of three.
The first 1,000 days of your life are HUGE for your gut (and lots of other things).
What does that mean exactly?
It means as a mother you can have a positive (or negative) influence on your child’s gut health starting from pregnancy and on. A balanced diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy (or calcium-rich dairy alternatives), and protein sources will help your baby’s gut.
Does that mean your gut is set after age 3?
Just because your gut is fully populated by age three doesn’t mean you can’t continue to take care of it! Your gut has over 100 trillion bacteria otherwise known as the “gut flora”.
Healthy gut flora has a major impact on your overall health.
First, let’s talk about the amazing connection between your gut and your brain.
The Gut-Brain Connection
Our gut bacteria produce hundreds of neurochemicals that the brain uses to regulate learning, memory, and mood.
More studies have shown that the gut microbiome can influence neural development, brain chemistry, emotional behavior, and even how we stress!
Have you ever been anxious for a presentation and felt some tummy issues rumbling? Maybe you got butterflies in your stomach the first time you met the love of your life?
As weird as it sounds, your gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion.
Stress can affect movement and contractions of the GI tract. On top of that, many people with GI disorders perceive pain more intensely than other people do. Why? Because their brains are more responsive to pain signals from the GI tract.
Studies show that when the brain signals stress, it can impact the microbial balance in the gut.
Ever notice that you tend to get sick when you’re extremely stressed?
The Human Gut: Your Second Brain
Your “second brain,” is the only organ to have its own independent nervous system, a network of 100 million neurons embedded in the gut wall.
Your gut flora (remember the 100 trillion microbes?) is critical to health.
Gut bacteria do the following:
- Regulates digestion and metabolism
- Extracts and makes vitamins/nutrients from the food we eat (you are what you eat)
- Programs the body’s immune system
- Build/maintain the gut wall (protecting the body from outside invaders)
The gut and the brain both communicate through the nervous system, hormones, and immune system.
You’ve heard of fight or flight, right? When you are experiencing some sort of threat, your brain will communicate to your gut in different ways (like we spoke about the tummy rumbling).
When you experience a threat, you trigger your central nervous system. At the same time, the enteric nervous system responds by slowing down or completely stopping digestion in an effort to divert your body’s energy to the threat.
You feel your tummy rumbling because your GI tract is slowing down or speeding up. Crazy, huh?
Your brain tells your gut that something is up.
It goes both ways though. GI problems might equal more anxiety and stress.
How Do I Take Care Of My Gut (the Second Brain)?
There’s lots of power in your guts. The power to boost your immune system. The power to promote regular bowel habits. The power to alleviate bloating and constipation. The power to improve your overall mental health!
How can you restore balance back to your gut bacterias?
You can make an effort to lower your stress levels (find something you love and do it daily). You can focus on getting enough sleep. Eat slowly and stay hydrated. Change your diet. And, find a good prebiotic and probiotic
Lucky for you, we can help in one of these areas. Our Pre & Pro Biotic is safe for the entire family (from ages 0+). It’s in a convenient melt form so you can crush it up for little babies or break it in half for younger kids. This is especially amazing since we know that the first 1,000 days of your child’s life has a MAJOR impact on their gut (it’s also been found to decrease crying time in infants). Win.
Your gut and your brain are BFF’s. Taking care of one can have a major impact on the other.
The gut is often forgotten and overlooked. But now that you know how much power it holds, how do you plan on taking care of your second brain?
The next time you feel those butterflies in your stomach, you’ll know that your gut is hard at work!