The Gut-Brain Axis
Are you suffering from mood disorders? Anxiety? Depression? PTSD? Autism? Dementia? Chronic fatigue? Chronic pain? Brain fog? Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Chronic constipation or diarrhea? Migraines? Headaches? Psoriasis? Eczema?
Has your physician discussed with you what the Gut-Brain Axis is?
The gut and brain are constantly communicating with each other. They do not work alone, but together. When you affect the gut, you will affect the brain. When you affect the brain, you affect the gut. You cannot separate the two. They are completely intertwined. So if we want brain health, then the way we start to get brain health is by fixing and working on the gut. The brain and the gut are autonomous systems. Autonomous means working on their own, but they are intimately connected.
The Gut-Brain Axis | Dr. Washatka
What are the ways the gut & the brain are connected?
- The gut and brain are connected through the neurological system: the gut is lined with the enteric nervous system from the mouth to your bottom. This has more nerve endings than your entire spinal cord. This is directly connected to the brain via the vagus nerve.
- The gut and the brain are connected via the immune system. The brain has its own lymphatic system; this has been researched, and new research is discovering more about it. The immune system has a massive influence on the brain: both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory influences.
When things happen in your gut, where 80% of your immune system exists, yes, pay attention to that again. Your gut houses 70–80% of your immune system! This has a direct effect on the immunological response in the brain. Neurotransmitters are made in the gut and directly absorbed through the blood system and make their way to the brain.
The gut is either the biggest supporter of the brain or can become the most toxic thing to the brain over time.
Over 30 neurotransmitters are produced in the gut. This is huge!
- 90–95% of serotonin is made within the gut, not the brain. Only 5–10% is produced in the brain! This is our happy neurotransmitter.
- 50% of dopamine is produced in the gut. This is the neurotransmitter that gives us motivation and drive. It’s the reward system.
Your gut is producing neurotransmitters right at this moment!
When we suffer from leaky gut, we should expect there will be consequences in the brain. Dysbiosis causes anxiety, depression, PTSD, autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and much more. This is why doing the Gastrotest, Comprehensive Stool Analysis, Food Sensitivity, and sometimes more testing are the first steps to fixing mood disorders.
Digestion is the center of our entire and overall health. This takes time, and it’s hard work, but it can fix the issues! This is why I tell you guys to dedicate yourself to making significant changes to the gut and diet for a minimum of 6 months so that you set your body up to replace and restore what is damaged.
The gut and brain are intimately connected and communicating by the following parts of the body:
- Vagus nerve
- Immune system
- Production of neurotransmitters
Problems in the gut will commonly manifest and present as mood imbalances. We need to have a healthy gut to have a healthy brain and other organ systems.
How does the microbiome in our gut influence us, make us unique, & influence the way we feel & our mood?
Collection of micro-organisms: fungi, bacteria, archaea, viruses, parasites are inside our gut. Trillions and trillions of these microbes are a part of you. They outnumber our human cells. They cover us from our head to our toes, from the inside out. The most concentrated place is inside of us in our colon. Remember, our bowels are facing outwards and an external surface. A large part of the microbiome is concentrated inside our colon, where they are to work. They are our best friends. We lean on these organisms to help us digest, regulate our metabolism, balance our hormones, and they affect our brain health. More importantly, they can affect the expression of our genetics. What else is left? This is where our health, our total health, is! Inside your gut!
- We are covered with microbes inside and out. We have more microbial cells in our system than we do human cells. We are a complex ecosystem.
- The other component is our genetic component. The human body has 24,000 genes in our DNA. But how are we so complex and advanced as humans? The microbial genes make up around 3 million.
Let me break that down:
We have 22,000–24,000 human genes and 2.5–3 million microbial genes within our body. That is over 120 times more microbial DNA that makes up our system than our human DNA.
These microbial genetics within our body account for over 90% of our biochemical functions in the human body! All of our human functions are controlled by the microbes in our system!
Microbial genes help us to break down foods that our human genes are not able to do. For example, our ancestors ate a plant-based diet, and these microbes had these enzymes to break down the food.
Issues with microbiome which lead to chronic diseases, emotional disease, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog):
- Lack of diversity: Hundreds to thousands of different species should be making up this microbiome. Three to four hundred different species of bacteria are within the gut. The typical American microbiome has decreased around 100–200 in recent studies.
- Loss of keystone strains within our bodies, which decrease disease: These should be within the gut but are no longer there.
- Severe leakiness in the gut: The barrier is broken down. The vast majority of chronic illness traces back to dysfunction in the gut!
The most prominent research institutions are studying this: American Diabetes Association, NIH, and more.
So, what is leaky gut?
Leaky gut, otherwise known as dysbiosis, means fewer good guys, more bad guys, and not as much diversity as there used to be. This affects the lining of the gut. There is a breakdown of tight junctions, and things get into the bloodstream and cause inflammation in the body. Toxic food proteins get through to the bloodstream, your immune system finds it immediately, inflammation rises, and then leads to all sorts of symptoms: brain fog, abdominal pain, headaches, migraines, joint pain, chronic pain, mood disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
For mental health, you need to seal up the gut! The leaky gut becomes the most TOXIC thing to the brain. Why is that?
- Endotoxins leak through (LPS or Lipopolysaccharide) gut
- Enter circulation
- Go up to through circulation or vagus nerve
- Enter the brain
- Cause inflammation in the brain
- Interfere with serotonin or dopamine binding and response in the brain
- Increased anxiety, depression, brain fog, seizures, dementia, and more
- Leaky gut
- Inflammation can send cytokines to the lungs
As a physician this is why we always investigate the gut/food:
- Digestion (Ask about the Gastrotest)
- Microbiome (Complete stool analysis and Metal Toxicities)
- Food (IgG and IgE sensitivity tests)
To reverse conditions and heal, we always have to look at the gut!
Impact of Roundup/glyphosate on the microbiome:
In a research study showing just in 3 weeks, the Roundup destroyed the diversity of the microbiome found on foods resulting in rising opportunistic organisms. There was an overgrowth of fungi and opportunistic bacteria within the first three weeks of studying these foods sprayed with Roundup, otherwise known as glyphosate. (This is a dangerous pesticide that Monsanto uses to spray foods that are not organic)
These organisms, fungi and bad bacteria, produced more toxins and caused leaky gut, inflammation, chronic disease, decreased mental health.
Gut-Brain Axis FAQ | Dr. Washatka
Have questions about the Gut-Brain Axis?
View these Frequently Asked Questions
What causes leaky gut?
- Wheat and gluten: this is genetically modified and also sprayed with Roundup frequently
- Proton Pump Inhibitors AKA acid blockers (these have also been found to have heavy metals in them as well)
- Chronic stress
- CDC says that 50% of antibiotic prescriptions are not necessary, yet in society, they are given way too much by practitioners
- Antibiotics within the animal meat we eat
- Cosmetic products that have never been tested on a human cell or microbiome
- Water we drink
Everything designed to kill bacteria kills the microbiome, and we don’t have as much diversity.
What can I start doing now?
- Avoid GMO foods
- Avoid processed foods
- Buy organic: Avoid glyphosate/Roundup
- A water purifier is essential: Reverse osmosis system, Mountain Valley Spring Water
- Decrease stress: Sleep more if you can, preventative care with Magnesphere, NeurOptimal, Hyperbaric, and Float Therapy twice monthly. Ask Dr. Washatka which one she recommends in which priority.
- Eat meats, fruits, and vegetables and remove grains: No wheat, gluten, corn, eggs
How do we fix a leaky gut?
- Remove toxic food from the diet: Chemicals, gluten, dairy, corn, rice, soy, sugar, alcohol
- Repair: Nutrients and herbs to help
- Replace: Digestive enzymes if tested for
- Repopulate: Add probiotics (Dr. Washatka will determine the type by testing your stool to see what you are lacking)
- Restore the spirit: Mood, emotions, and stress control
It’s never too late! We can repair it. It just takes time and dedication! We will help through the process.
References | Dr. Washatka
Migrenne S, Marsollier N, Cruciani-Guglielmacci C, Magnan C. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2006 Dec;6(6):592-7. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2006.08.004. Epub 2006 Sep 20. PMID: 16990049 Review.
Farzi A, et al. Mol Aspects Med. 2019. PMID: 30513310 Review.
Hu S, et al. Front Psychiatry. 2019. PMID: 31244696 Free PMC article. No abstract available.
Bioque M, et al. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021. PMID: 33045322 Review.
Gut microbiota-brain axis in depression: The role of neuroinflammation