Archive for ‘GI health’

January 19, 2012

WSJ article on Brain-Gut connection

Here is a great article a friend shared with me from the Wall Street Journal: A Gut Check for Many Ailments… I hope you read it!

This article is a succinct and well-written summary of a branch of scientific research some call “psychoneuroimmunology.”  A study of the connection between the brain, the mind and the immune system.  In this article, the author presents a few important research studies that have helped us understand the role of another key palyer: our gut!  When addressing any disease, one system your naturopath may always ask about is the gastro-intestinal system.  Why? Because, often the GI ‘runs the show’ in the body more than any other system — some scientists even refer to gut as having its own ‘brain.’

The author discusses research revealing the importance of maintaining healthy gut flora in order to maintain proper neurotransmitter balance – which affects things like anxiety and depression; and, in this study, autism.  Just another good reason to eat lacto-fermented foods on a regular basis or include a high-quality probiotic in your diet.

The author also mentions research showing that stimulation of the vagus nerve – the largest nerve connecting the brain and the GI system – could significantly alter someone’s experiences of depression.  We often talk about food as medicine, but I love this article because it brings together a nice sampling of mainstream research to illuminate how we can see gut health as playing a central role in achieving balanced health in the mind and body.

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September 16, 2011

Our gut bacteria make us unique!

Earlier this year research from Germany, published by Dr. Peer Bork, was released revealing evidence that there are three specific gut bacteria associated with the human gastrointestinal system.  It appears that each individual’s gut is hospitable to only one of three bacterial enterospecies and this could make it easier for us to understand how different individuals respond to certain diets, prescribe probiotics specifically fashioned for the individual and may even help us understand why certain people manifest particular gastrointestinal complaints while others do not.

This is an exciting discovery because just as we can categorize individuals by blood type, in the future we may do so also by gut bacteria type!

Regarding this research, a a New York Times article states:

“Instead of trying to wipe out disease-causing bacteria that have disrupted the ecological balance of the gut, they could try to provide reinforcements for the good bacteria. “You’d try to restore the type you had before,” [Dr. Bork] said. ”

In other words, instead of utilizing anti-biotics to fight disease, why not take a proactive stance and build up our body’s natural defenses?  Well, Naturopaths have been doing this for centuries!  Too bad we had to wait for modern science to catch-up with our treatment philosophies, but better late than never… and next time someone shrugs their shoulders and asks why your Naturopath prescribes probiotics you can direct them to this research!

I hope you find this information useful and applicable – let me know your thoughts and questions…

Be Well,

Dr. Rachelle