9

votes

Brain/Gut connection?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 11, 2011 at 1:02 PM

I'm relatively new to paleo and I'm curious about the brain/gut connection. If we have neurotransmitters in our stomach, would it explain why carbs and sugars are potentially addictive. What neurotransmitters occur in our gut and what is their function?

E715bf169d0401e177dc50ddfa741bd5

on November 22, 2011
at 08:28 PM

Thanks Grace! I love it : )

Medium avatar

on November 12, 2011
at 01:29 AM

Thanks for the kind words grace. I just do the best I can to find relevant info and pass it along to those who need it most.

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 11, 2011
at 10:33 PM

Chris, this is stunning. VERY NICE!!!!!!! ur an excellent teacher. Let me frame this beauty!

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 11, 2011
at 10:32 PM

Plus 2000+!!!! Hey Chelo Hotness!!!! Hope u are feeling great!! I just added ur blog link a few days ago on my blog with a host of other resources for gut health and GAPS links. U ROCK!!!

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 11, 2011
at 10:29 PM

AWESOME and thorogh esp from a real life clinicial experience optic that you'll not see on any paleo Focused blog. Plus 1000+

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 11, 2011
at 10:27 PM

Awesome book that I've not read yet... highly recommended from one of my 'gut' mentors!

775bc83a7c54975e77a8500e065a24c3

(814)

on November 11, 2011
at 07:18 PM

Thanks very much for all this information.

723e9af1560a89e7d8148b386151c15d

(38)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:53 PM

Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Depression http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/11/06/gastrointestinal-inflammation-and-depression/

723e9af1560a89e7d8148b386151c15d

(38)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:52 PM

http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/11/06/gastrointestinal-inflammation-and-depression/

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:46 PM

Bacteria are really crafty little buggers. This is freaky.

775bc83a7c54975e77a8500e065a24c3

(814)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:31 PM

Thanks, this is incredible...lots to think about!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:27 PM

Yeah, and Mark Sisson posted something on the Daily Apple about it on Monday.

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1801)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:14 PM

Dr Art Ayers talks about fecal transplants on his interview with Jimmy Moore too.

775bc83a7c54975e77a8500e065a24c3

(814)

on November 11, 2011
at 01:36 PM

Thanks for the link, very interesting.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 11, 2011
at 01:27 PM

I also heard of recent research in which a woman with Parkinson's who had a fecal transplant to deal with a severe case of colitis and constipation had her Parkinson's symptoms disappear. Hmmm. I wrote a bit about fecal transplants in a post entitled "what's the poop?"

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on November 11, 2011
at 01:07 PM

Looking forward to hearing these answers. I know I've come across references somewhere a while back, but I can't recall where.

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7 Answers

7
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:21 PM

From Peter at Hyperlipid:

"I have spent many years dutifully blood testing neurological patients for evidence of active toxo infection, occasionally with some success. I never had the slightest idea that toxoplasma gondii was neurotropic for a reason, other than some quirk of misfortune on the part of the patient. But here is the reason. When the toxoplasmosis organism is in its intermediate host, which should be a mouse or rat, it wants to go home to where it belongs, which is in the digestive system of a cat. It wants the rodent to get eaten. So it pops in to the mouse's brain, removes all fear of cats, makes the smell of cat highly attractive and then lets the meeting of these two mammals allow it to complete its life cycle. But it doesn't want the mouse to die in any other way, say at the hands of a human or a fox or under the wheel of a car. So normal fears are left strictly in tact to maximise survival chances, enhancing "cat-meeting" opportunities. Not bad for a single celled organism."

http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2007/12/memes-and-g.html

Figuring out what is going on between the gut and brain will take many years, I think.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:46 PM

Bacteria are really crafty little buggers. This is freaky.

775bc83a7c54975e77a8500e065a24c3

(814)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:31 PM

Thanks, this is incredible...lots to think about!

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 11, 2011
at 10:29 PM

AWESOME and thorogh esp from a real life clinicial experience optic that you'll not see on any paleo Focused blog. Plus 1000+

4
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 11, 2011
at 01:21 PM

The brain/gut connection is hugely important and not very well understood. The gut has its own nervous system, called the "enteric nervous system" that is connected to the brain via the vagus nerve. In fact, your brain is only a small part of your nervous system. There's no question that your gut chemistry affects your brain chemistry.

(I wrote something about this not too long ago, in the context of new research showing how gut bacteria alter gut chemistry which then alters brain chemistry. http://www.gydlepublishing.com/blog/2011/09/about-that-gut-feeling/ )

I realize this doesn't really answer your question about addiction. I don't think addiction is very well understood, either. But I'm pretty sure it's not all in our heads.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:27 PM

Yeah, and Mark Sisson posted something on the Daily Apple about it on Monday.

723e9af1560a89e7d8148b386151c15d

(38)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:52 PM

http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/11/06/gastrointestinal-inflammation-and-depression/

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 11, 2011
at 01:27 PM

I also heard of recent research in which a woman with Parkinson's who had a fecal transplant to deal with a severe case of colitis and constipation had her Parkinson's symptoms disappear. Hmmm. I wrote a bit about fecal transplants in a post entitled "what's the poop?"

775bc83a7c54975e77a8500e065a24c3

(814)

on November 11, 2011
at 01:36 PM

Thanks for the link, very interesting.

723e9af1560a89e7d8148b386151c15d

(38)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:53 PM

Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Depression http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/11/06/gastrointestinal-inflammation-and-depression/

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1801)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:14 PM

Dr Art Ayers talks about fecal transplants on his interview with Jimmy Moore too.

3
Medium avatar

on November 11, 2011
at 05:57 PM

Chris Kresser did a podcast explaining a lot of the research behind the gut-brain connection. It's very informative. http://chriskresser.com/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-9. One reason high-sugar foods may be addictive is because they feed the yeast and bad bacteria we have in our gut and cause overgrowth: "One of the chemicals that yeast secrete is salsolinol, which has the ability to rum your brain into their bartender, commanding you to fetch them their keats. High levels of salsolinol can lead to extreme cravings for--and even addiction to--alcohol or sweets, which yeast can ferment into alcohol." http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FKA/is_9_66/ai_n6155923/. Also, research shows there's a link between having too much of one kind of gut bacteria and obesity. Basically, certain species of bacteria are more efficient at extracting the calories from your food, so the faster they do this, the more quickly the sugar is released into the bloodstream, which is one reason why people with obesity are so hungry- their gut bacteria are hungry too and are doing a lot of the work http://news.discovery.com/human/gut-bacteria-obesity-111026.html. It goes the other way too in that our thoughts and how our surroundings affect us (especially psychological stressors) affect our levels of gut bacteria http://www.cabdirect.org/abstracts/20103038744.html;jsessionid=B60B2DD13567366460CC78B0B7EBB525. Research shows that an imbalance in our gut bacteria can cause anxiety and depression, both of which make you more likely to crave high-sugar foods to subconsciously try to increase your serotonin levels that are low due to the former conditions http://hbcprotocols.com/probioticarticle/. A balance of neurotransmitters in your brain is another key to preventing food cravings, and diet is the main way this balance is influenced. Most of the body's melatonin and serotonin is actually produced in the gut, so if your gut is damaged, the cells that produce them won't anymore, causing a deficiency. Dopamine deficiency, which you can inherit or develop plays a large role in food cravings due to an underactive brain reward center also seen in drug addicts http://jackkruse.com/your-gutneurotransmitters-and-hormones/. Stephan Guyonet's blog has a lot of good info on this http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/. If you wanna know all about the neurotransmitters in the gut this article sums it up well http://www.pointofreturn.com/gut_health.html. We always thought the brain was in charge, but 90% of the interaction between the gut and the brain are signals going from the gut to the brain, and only 10% go from the brain to the gut, so it looks like conventional wisdom had that one backwards.

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 11, 2011
at 10:33 PM

Chris, this is stunning. VERY NICE!!!!!!! ur an excellent teacher. Let me frame this beauty!

Medium avatar

on November 12, 2011
at 01:29 AM

Thanks for the kind words grace. I just do the best I can to find relevant info and pass it along to those who need it most.

775bc83a7c54975e77a8500e065a24c3

(814)

on November 11, 2011
at 07:18 PM

Thanks very much for all this information.

3
13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:21 PM

The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine by Michael Gershon

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 11, 2011
at 10:27 PM

Awesome book that I've not read yet... highly recommended from one of my 'gut' mentors!

E715bf169d0401e177dc50ddfa741bd5

on November 22, 2011
at 08:28 PM

Thanks Grace! I love it : )

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on November 11, 2011
at 10:32 PM

Plus 2000+!!!! Hey Chelo Hotness!!!! Hope u are feeling great!! I just added ur blog link a few days ago on my blog with a host of other resources for gut health and GAPS links. U ROCK!!!

0
8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

on November 13, 2011
at 04:44 AM

I heard Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD from UK at Weston Price's annual conference. I learned a lot about gut and psychology and gut and physiology (both GAPS). Her GAPS diet, especially the introductory stage is very Paleo.

She goes into mental issues, physical problems, probiotics, gut dysbiosis, etc.

http://www.doctor-natasha.com/

http://gapsdiet.com/

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