Treat your brain to improve your gut!
Join leading functional-medicine expert, Dr. Will Cole, as he breaks down the causes, symptoms, and treatments for system dysregulation. He brings his years of experience with thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, brain problems, and more to give you actionable steps to heal the complex parasympathetic system within your body.
Start feeling better today!
The “gut” includes the stomach, large intestines, and small intestines. The gut and the brain are originally formed from the same fetal tissue in the womb, and they are inextricably linked for the rest of our lives. Together, they form what’s known as the gut-brain axis. In fact, 95% of serotonin, our “happy” neurotransmitter, 50% of our dopamine, our “pleasure” or “reward” neurotransmitter, is made in the gut. And these are just a few of the many reasons why the gut’s known as “the second brain”!
The neurotransmitters produced in the gut work upon the vagus nerve, the largest cranial nerve in the body. It’s part of the parasympathetic component of the autonomic nervous system which regulates digesting, hormone balancing, and much more. Unfortunately, most of us in the West are in varying degrees of nervous system dysregulation, which brings together a cascade of side effects.
“Shameflammation” is Dr. Cole’s coined word that describes the research on the mind-body connection, chronic stress, and its impact on physical health. Unresolved trauma, chronic stress, body shame, and food shame are all major factors for nervous system dysregulation. This research supports the idea that the emotional pathways for detox impact the physical ones.
This suboptimal function of the neuroendocrine axis (the intersection between our nervous system, immune system, and endocrine system) can wreak havoc on the body. The vagus nerve plays a major role in this because it’s the main connector between the gut and the brain, with far-reaching implications when it stops working properly.
Internal factors, like underlying gut problems, nutrient deficiencies, and chronic infections can cause symptoms just as often as external factors such as mold and environmental toxins. Life can stress your body in the form of a stressful job, traumatic events, toxic relationships, or unhealthy boundaries with people.
The symptoms can include things like brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues, sluggishness, and gut dysbiosis. In addition, suboptimal communication between the gut and the brain can result in bacterial overgrowth, contributing to symptoms like bloating, IBS, food sensitivities, histamine intolerance, and more. Skin flare-ups can also happen for some people, as well as more undiagnosable problems like background anxiety and general discomfort. These are all telltale signs that your body is telling you something is wrong.
We should be reversing autoimmune diseases, not developing them. For some people, life is great, yet they still feel an underlying anxiety or dread they shouldn’t be feeling. It could be mold toxins, chronic Lyme, underlying gut problems, or environmental toxins contributing to it. There’s also the potential it’s leftover psychological stressors from their past playing out in their life today as if it’s still going on.
Research shows that people with more adverse childhood events (or ACE scores) are more likely to have autoimmune problems, metabolic issues, trouble losing weight, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypervigilant nervous system, anxiety, and depression later on in life. Many gaslight themselves, saying it wasn’t so bad, or will look at someone worse off than them, but that doesn’t change their own stressors.
Strengthening the parasympathetic system through nutrition, supporting gut health, and supporting the detox pathways are all good options, but the feeling side also needs to be dealt with. Meditation and breathing work can reduce the over-reactiveness of the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. Essentially cutting the trauma lines, you are increasing the parasympathetic processes such as rest, relaxation, digestion, absorption, and detox.
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy or pairing micro-dosing with other supportive nutrients like neurotropics and adaptogens is being researched as a possible treatment option for some people. However, Ketamine is an anesthetic, and is not a magic cure-all for everything.
Listen now and start healing your gut-brain connection!
Dr. Will Cole is the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum, and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel. He’s a leading functional-medicine expert dealing with thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems.
Gut Feelings: https://drwillcole.com/gut-feelings
The Inflammation Spectrum: https://drwillcole.com/the-inflammation-spectrum
Intuitive Fasting: https://drwillcole.com/intuitive-fasting
ACE Score: https://www.acesaware.org
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