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  • If you've ever had a “gut reactionto something, gone with a “gut feelingor

  • had a “gut-wrenchingexperience; you may not realise we use these terms

  • for a reason.

  • In our gut lies our enteric nervous system and it’s often called our second brain.

  • We have the same number of neurons lining our long tube of gut as we do in our spinal cord.

  • And our gut is capable of reacting, like causing cravings for a taco, without even communicating with our first brain.

  • We have a community of bacteria living in our gut called our microbiome.

  • It’s influenced by what you eat, your genes, age, stress levels and even where you live.

  • Certain bacteria thrive depending on what you eat, and were just starting to realise what it can do.

  • Our microbiome can communicate with our Central Nervous System and influence our behaviour.

  • In one study, germ-free mice, who aren't exposed to any bacteria since birth and don’t develop a microbiome,

  • were compared to their germ-carrying counterparts in a maze test.

  • The germ-free mice showed a reduction in anxiety-like behaviors in response to the maze.

  • They were then housed with the other mice, and exposed to their germs. But when they did the maze test again,

  • they still showed a reduction in anxious behaviour. The researchers suggested

  • gut-brain interactions are important to the development of stress systems,

  • and the germ-free mice missed their window to develop one.

  • A recent study found that prebiotics, little fibre compounds that stimulate the growth of gut bacteria,

  • have an anti-anxiety effect in people. Participants were split into two groups,

  • one that took prebiotics every day, and one that took a placebo. After three weeks,

  • those who took prebiotics had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and in tests

  • they paid less attention to negative information and more attention to positive information.

  • And other studies have shown that giving people fermented milk products containing probiotics,

  • or healthy bacteria, twice a day for four weeks,

  • altered brain activity in regions linked to emotion.

  • The function of our gastro-intestinal tract goes far beyond just processing what we eat.

  • Of course our second brain, our enteric nervous system, isn’t capable of conscious thought.

  • But our microbiome can influence our behavior, our stress levels and even our mood.

  • So the next time you have that feeling of butterflies in your stomach,

  • remember there’s a whole lot more happening down there than you may realise.

  • For more awesome facts about yourself, head over to my friends Alltime Numbers,

  • where theyll take you through the human body in numbers.

  • And if you don’t already subscribe to BrainCraft! For a new, brainy video every Thursday.

If you've ever had a “gut reactionto something, gone with a “gut feelingor

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The Strange Location of Your Second Brain

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    王妍心   に公開 2015 年 04 月 18 日
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