Neuroscience, gut-health and psychiatry: Why it's all coming together. - Adday

The interconnection of neuroscience + gut-health.

The link between the gut and mental health is a growing area of research in the field of neuroscience and psychiatry. The gut and the brain are connected through a bidirectional communication pathway called the gut-brain axis. This axis involves complex interactions between the central nervous system (CNS), the enteric nervous system (ENS) of the gut, and the gut microbiota. This very research is the reason we got into innovating at all, and ultimately why we created the formulation that would eventually become Mind Focus. 

It's an infintely interesting area of research and a lot of it is much more detailed than we'd ever be able to get fully into in a short blog post, but here are some key points regarding the link between the gut and mental health -

The Gut Microbiota is home to trillions of microorganisms collectively known as the gut microbiota. These microbes play a crucial role in various aspects of health, including digestion, metabolism, and immune function. They also produce neurotransmitters and other bioactive compounds that can influence brain function and behavior. Very often, our mood and behaviour have everything to do with what we've eaten in the last few hours, whether we have eaten anything, and what it is that we have eaten. 

The gut microbiota can produce several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These neurotransmitters are not only essential for regulating mood but also influence cognition, emotions, and stress responses. In fact, a significant portion of serotonin, which is commonly associated with happiness and well-being, is synthesized in the gut. Have you ever noticed this? That feeling of really good mood, once you've had a good, balanced meal?

The gut microbiota also interacts with the immune system and influences its development and function. Emerging evidence suggests that imbalances in the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, can lead to chronic inflammation and immune system dysfunction. These immune-related changes can affect brain function and contribute to the development of mental health disorders. Sure, it doesn't yet feel intuitive to look to the gut for answers to the mysterious world of mental health, but the science is showing that that is one place to look.

The vagus nerve also serves as a major pathway for communication between the gut and the brain. It carries signals bidirectionally (in two directions), allowing information to flow between the two systems. The gut microbiota can stimulate the vagus nerve, sending signals to the brain that can influence mood, stress responses, and behavior. For example, have you ever felt "butterflies" in your tummy? This is actually the physiological aspect of anxiety. 

Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression can influence gut health. Stress, for example, can disrupt the balance of the gut microbiota and alter gut permeability, leading to a condition known as "leaky gut." This, in turn, can trigger inflammation and can impact one's mental health. It's important to keep track of your stress levels and take note of what your digestion and tummy is feeling like during stressful times. Often, the two speak the same language and can show signs of inbalance.

Imbalances in the gut-brain axis have been implicated in various health disorders, including anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers are actively investigating the potential of targeting the gut microbiota as a therapeutic approach for these conditions, including the use of probiotics, prebiotics, and dietary interventions.

And we're all for it. Have you tried Mind Focus? Has it helped you feel more calm, less stressed, less anxious or depressed? 

It's important to note that while the gut-brain axis and its influence on mental health are areas of active research, the field is still evolving, and more studies are needed to fully understand the complex mechanisms at play. Nonetheless, the emerging evidence suggests that the gut and mental health are intricately linked, highlighting the importance of maintaining gut health for overall well-being.


  1. The gut microbiota–brain axis in behaviour and brain disorders, Morais, L.H., Schreiber, H.L. & Mazmanian, S.K. The gut microbiota–brain axis in behaviour and brain disorders. Nat Rev Microbiol 19, 241–255 (2021).
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