• The Undeniable Link Between the Brain and Gut

      Rhoads, Brigham; Jurewicz, Abigail; Nghe, Amy; Oliveras, Kiana; Nelson, Vanessa; Gingerich, Alexa (2021-05)
      Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, constipation, and stomach pain are all kinds of gastrointestinal problems we have faced before. They are easy to dismiss as merely an upset stomach, but this mentality could build up and ultimately be detrimental to mental and physical health. Improperly caring for the digestive system can lead to extensive intestinal health issues. The microbiome is a collection of all of the microorganisms that thrive in the human digestive system. It is a cohesive network of beneficial, neutral, and negative bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses that help digest foods that are otherwise indigestible by our digestive tract among many other functions. Neglecting intestinal health by not nourishing the microbiome with proper nutrients, abusing medications, or excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a host of different health problems. For example, sleep disturbances, like insomnia, are a common symptom of a struggling gut. They can lead to chronic fatigue because the majority of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is pivotal in mood and sleep, is manufactured in the gut [1]. A more acute health crisis that can develop from improper care of one’s gut is the formation of peptic ulcers in the stomach or small intestine. Peptic ulcers are caused by a breakdown of the mucus membrane in the digestive tract and result in chest and abdominal pain, weight loss, trouble breathing, and in extreme cases expulsion of blood [2]. Who would have thought that what we eat could affect the development of healthy gut flora, which then can contribute to declining mental and physical health? This article investigates topics regarding the gut’s impact on body and mind, what lifestyle choices cause dysbiosis, and how Parkinson’s Disease can develop beginning in the gut to demonstrate how central the gut is to overall wellness.