Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Brain-Gut Connection



Depression and an unbalanced mood often highlights the subject of serotonin. This small molecule is a neurotransmitter, helping cells of the nervous system communicate with each other. Serotonin is notably called the “feel good hormone” or the “happy hormone” since its action is important in the brain’s chemical balance of regulating mood. It is often deficient in individuals who suffer from depression.
Serotonin is derived from a protein building block called tryptophan, which is found in certain foods we consume. In the conventional treatment of depression, many drugs are targeted towards enhancing the brain’s balance of this neurotransmitter. But what is less known is that over 95% of the serotonin in your body is actually produced by your gastrointestinal tract, your gut. When tryptophan rich foods like almonds, bananas, beans, chicken, eggs, fish, milk, soy and turkey (among others) gets ingested, a proper functioning digestive system has the task of breaking down the food. Soon after, serotonin is produced in the gut it gets transported to the brain and nervous system to elevate mood and ease depression. Serotonin also further stimulates proper digestive functioning. Without the proper nutritional balance in our diet, not only are we affecting our overall mood, our digestion is ultimately affected as well. The brain-gut connection is so important in ensuring proper serotonin production that it should be addressed in cases of depression and low mood.

About the author:

Dr Josee Boyer
Dr. Josée Boyer, Naturopathic Doctor, is interested in helping her patients find emotional balance while regulating physical health issues such as fatigue, digestive complaints, weak immune system and neuroendocrine (hormone and nervous system) imbalances.

Read more about Dr Josée Boyer.

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