It's all the rage right now in research to understand how dysbiosis (unbalanced gut flora) can affect our mood and possibly lead to disease states.
I don't know about you, but when I get nervous my stomach always gets upset... so why wouldn't the reverse happen? If the stomach is upset then mental symptoms could occur?
To start, we actually have 2 nervous systems
- CNS (central nervous system) which is the brain and spinal cord
- Enteric nervous system which the intrinsic part of the gastrointestinal tract
These two systems have a direct line of communication via the vagus nerve.
On average, each person has around 5 pounds of bacteria in their GI tract which means we actually have more microorganisms in our body than our own cells (10 times as much)! If there is an imbalance of gut flora than many things can be off in our body, not just our GI tract.
There's still a lot much more research to be done before we really understand the connection but it certainly sounds interesting. Looking at the body in a holistic way creates a much better understanding of the whole rather than evaluating the parts separately. Why did we ever think that they were separate?