Leaky gut: A condition in which the tight junctions (the gap between our intestinal lining) become loose and harmful substances escape the digestive system processing and directly leak into our bloodstream.
Do you think of yourself as whimsical or practical? Do you believe that everything in the world is inter-related, or do you find the invisible cosmic connections an idiotic notion? Well, I am not trying to lure you into believing anything you don’t want to, but there is something that you will have to agree upon. The human body, even though made up of so many different parts performing different functions, all comes together to make a singular entity, you, me! and this is only possible because everything in our body is interconnected too. In the end, it’s these connections that work the magic and illuminate us, and when these connections go haywire then occurs the short circuit.
One such interesting two-way connection in our body is that of our gut and brain. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of it, tell me have you ever felt your stomach drop when you found yourself in an awkward situation? Did you ever pay attention that the last time you suffered a sudden bout of diarrhea or even constipation, you were stressed? These simple examples and many others have indicated a strong connection between our brain and stomachs that goes beyond the ordinary digestion and routine functions.
Our gut has it’s own share of the nervous system called the enteric nervous system. This system is responsible for regulating all gut-related activities on its own without much help from the brain. Due to this reason, this is also called the second brain. Through the vagus nerve (a cranial nerve) that starts from the brain and ends in the abdomen is responsible for the two-way communication between the brain and the second brain among many other functions.
Now before we understand how leaky gut affects one’s brain, let’s do a sneak peek at the leaky gut. It’s that condition in which the tight junctions (the gap between our intestinal lining) become loose and harmful substances escape the digestive system processing and directly leak into our bloodstream. This can lead to many scenarios but let’s get back to the brain. Now when any harmful toxin is released into the blood, it brings forth the inflammation. The process in which the body destroys the harmful agents, but with a leaky gut and more toxins flowing into your system, the inflammation process runs in overdrive, and this negatively impacts your brain. It can lead to:
Depression, Anxiety, Memory loss, Fatigue of brain.
The next time you find yourself snapping all the time, it could be because your mood and behavior have been afflicted by your gut. Another factor is it isn’t always toxins that release, it can also be the gut microbiome that is released and hence are not absorbed by the body the way it should. These are required for brain functions too. Hence when there is a dearth of them it may lead to problems like Alzheimer’s, Dementia. In the extreme situation, leaky gut has been associated with mental conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
Understanding this connection has helped psychiatrists and gastroenterologists in taking the necessary conditions to finally relive the ailment. They are both (gut and brain) responsible for hampering another.
“When people go within and connect with themselves, they realize they are connected to the universe and they are connected to all living things.” I hope this helps you feel more connected outside and inside.