Week 8: Our Second Brain
If you ask any person how many brains do a human being has, most probably this person would jump to the conclusion of just one brain. After all, that is what is tough in our schools up to these days.
What if I tell you (and convince you) that in reality we have 4 different brains?
Yes four (4) different, very distinctive and important neurological centers in our bodies.
Today, we are going to talk about our Second Brain.
Ready to get your brain right? Start with your gut!
Yes, your guts!
Every one of us is likely to experience that familiar feeling of “butterflies” in the stomach. Underlying this sensation is an often-overlooked network of neurons lining our guts that is so extensive some scientists have nicknamed it our “second brain”. A big part of our emotions are influenced by the nerves in our gut. Those butterflies in the stomach are the guts signaling as part of our physiological stress response. This “second brain” informs our state of mind in other more obscure ways, as well… (No comments here)
Dr. David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, ABIHM is a Board-Certified Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition who received his M.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine and author of two phenomenal books: “The Brain Grain” and “The Bain Maker”. In his own words:
“The digestive system is intimately connected to what goes on in the brain. And perhaps the most important aspect of the gut that has everything to do with your general wellness and mental health is its internal ecology—the various microorganisms that live within it, especially the bacteria.“
Still not convinced?
Let’s talk about some numbers and statistics:
- 100 Trillions. Little microbial friends in your guts that have way more impact in your daily overall heath than you might think.
- 80%-90%. Of the serotonin is produced in our guts. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. Serotonin can trigger the release of substances in the blood vessels of the brain that in turn cause the pain of migraine. Serotonin is also key to mood regulation; pain perception; gastrointestinal function, including perception of hunger and satiety; and other physical functions. In other words, every time you eat something, you are affecting your mood.
- Two million Americans. Are affected by what is called Irritable Bowel Syndrome—which also arises in part from too much serotonin in our entrails, and could perhaps be regarded as a “mental illness” of the second brain.
- 70%-80%. Of our immune system is in our gut. Have you ever stopped and think that is your gut, besides your skin, the other big organ in charge of dealing with all the stuff that actually touch your body, and is communicating with the resto of your immune system about foreign invaders, etc. If you have a compromised gut, you have a compromised immune system, and also a compromised brain.
- 73%. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.
Diet, water & probiotics:
In short, by nurturing gut health through a few easy strategies can alter your brain’s destiny for the better, and positively affect the way you feel.
And remember to hydrate yourself. Our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted. Your brain cells lose efficiency. In fact, each day humans must consume a certain amount of water to survive. Of course, this varies according to age and gender, and also by where someone lives. Generally, an adult male needs about 3 liters per day while an adult female needs about 2.2 liters per day.
This post is not intended to be a treatise on medicine, psychiatry or psychology. But, if I have awakened your interest in your gut and what you are putting into your body, then I’ll be satisfied with having done a good job.
Once again, if you want to get your brain right, start with your gut!