It is not a new concept that the gut and the brain have a deep connection. The idea of having “butterflies in your stomach” is the perfect example of this phenomenon. The more research that comes out about the microbiome, or the bacterial colonies in our gastrointestinal tract, the more it is accepted that the gut is the “second brain.” The cells that line the GI Tract, called the enteric nervous system (ENS) not only control blood flow and help with digestion, but they also have sensory capabilities to help us secrete hormones, neurotransmitter (brain messengers), and nerve impulses to and from the brain. Imbalances in gut bacteria, presence of harmful toxins and inflammation at the surface of the gastrointestinal lining can all contribute to brain disorders.
Getting a stool test done is an excellent way to determine what is going on in your gastrointestinal tract. Identification of overgrown pathogenic yeast, bacteria, parasites, and viruses is a crucial step in optimizing gut health. While one may not always be symptomatic of bacterial imbalances, chances are you have been on antibiotics and are exposed to them through other ways, such as through diet, that could have negative implication on your bacterial balance. When the “good guys” are lowered and defenses are down, that opens the door for the “bad guys” to proliferate and take over.