Dialogue between intestine and brain
Over 200 million neurons are connected to our intestines, as many as there are in our brains. The idea of a privileged communication between the brain and the intestine is not new and scientists have been interested in the subject for more than 50 years.
But that this dialogue is bilateral and that the intestine can send messages to the brain is a more recent concept. Researchers are gradually revealing how our microbiota is an integral part of this dialogue.
Anxiety, depression, autism, mood... intestinal bacteria influence our behavior, regulate our emotional responses and intervene in these diseases of the nervous system.
The intestine, the place of our emotions
Our feelings change facial expressions and body language. When we are stressed and nervous, our heart rate increases. It is therefore natural that other parts of our body, especially the digestive system, are affected by our emotions. A stressful period or intense anger can, for example, cause abdominal pain or indigestion.
In fact, central nervous system stimulation, as well as stress, can affect the intestine in several ways. Adrenaline and corticotropin releasing hormone (CRF) cause contractions of the intestine, which stimulate transit.
Effect on well-being
The neuronal connection between the intestine and the brain is also of fundamental importance for the human being.
The bacteria that colonize the intestinal tract, for example, control the production of essential hormones such as serotonin (the happiness hormone) and melatonin (the sleeping hormone).
The intestine-brain axis therefore has a considerable influence on mental health and thus on our well-being.
A wide variety of disorders can then appear.
Stress, release of pro-inflammatory hormones
Effects of stress
✓ Pro-inflammatory cytokines released by the immune system.
✓ Glucocorticoids in the adrenal glands stimulated by the release of ACTH from the pituitary gland, in turn stimulated by the secretion of corticoliberin (CRF or CRH).
✓ CRF, which inhibit stomach contractions and increase intestinal permeability by stimulating colon secretion. This explains the pain, inflammation and diarrhea.
✓ Cortisol, also known as stress hormone, which, in addition to being implicated in hyperglycemia, can trigger a metabolic syndrome and lead to obesity.
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