The importance of the second brain

Ever had a “gut feeling”? or felt like you have a nervous tummy?

Well this is because the gut and the brain are closely linked. The gut can upset the brain just as the brain can upset the gut. The second brain or the “enteric nervous system” is located in the sheaths of tissue lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon, otherwise known as our gastroinstestinal tract. This measures about nine meters end to end from the esophagus to the anus.

95% of the serotonin and 50% of the dopamine is found in your gut

It’s estimated that there are between 400 and 600 million neurons in your gut – that’s up to three times as many neurons than in the brain of a rat. You’re not conscious of your gut thinking, but the system produces about 95% of the serotonin and 50% of the dopamine found in your body. Many mental health disorders are due to the lack of serotonin in the brain but it may actually be because it is not actually being produced substantially in the gut to start with. So why would that happen? Research has found that people suffering with mental health problems are most likely to have an unhealthy gut.

Have a look at this video explaining the Human Microbiome

Many studies linking the health of the gut and mental health have been carried out on animals and very few with humans so there is still so work to do to finding out exactly what a ‘healthy’ microbiome looks like.

In the meantime, if you are suffering from a mental health disorder to is certainly worth visiting a local Nutritional Therapist where they can investigate your diet and lifestyle and make available to you some laboratory tests that will show the current health of your gut. Once you have this information you can then start to make the relevant and recommended changes and work towards rebalancing your gut microbes.


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