Monday, May 27, 2024

How Does Leaky Gut Affect The Brain

Must read

Leaky Gut And Celiac Disease

How Candida Leaky Gut Affects the Gut Brain Axis

Food sensitivity and emerging glycotoxins have been linked to inflammation and some individuals react to food and dietary proteins as pathogenic or antigenic, causing inflammation of the mucosal barrier and cytokine stress. The inflammasome, comprised largely of cytokines, interleukins -8, and the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor – and interferon -, may play a role in this process and inflammation can induce changes in the expression and/or localization of tight junction proteins, and affect CNS drug uptake . Metabolites of the gutbrain axis are targets for potential drug treatment and drug design .

When one or multiple host barriers are breached, as in the crossing by a disease causative agent, a critical event in systemic infection occurs and two nonexclusive scenarios can occur. One is the barrier function of a tissue, which can be compromised by physical means or by a host condition that disrupts the integrity of tissues like inflammation or a dysfunction of a host gene product that is implicated in barrier function can occur . Downstream barrier damage can allow direct microbial invasion, or through direct action of microbial gene products. Here, direct breach can mediate microbial adhesion and translocation across host barriers .

What Is The Gut

The gut-brain axis acts as a link between the external environment and the CNS. Its main components are the microbiota for its role in gastrointestinal homeostasis, the intestinal barrier that regulates the entry of food and microbial metabolites into the organism, and the sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of the autonomic nervous system, namely the enteric nervous system and the vagus nerve, which transmit signals to the brain.

The human gut microbiota comprises 500-1000 bacterial species and an undetermined number of viruses, fungi, and others it is highly heterogeneous between individuals, varying according to age, diet, and other environmental factors, so an optimal microbiota composition does not exist . However, microbiota composition is quite stable at phylum level, and an alteration in the ratio between different phyla, with the loss of microbiota diversity, has been associated with diseases . In homeostatic conditions, the microbiota not only exerts a large number of functions that are related to food digestion and vitamin synthesis, but it also has an important role in the maintenance of intestinal barrier integrity and in the regulation of the immune system . The microbiota communicates with the host mainly through bacterial metabolites of dietary substrates such as tryptophan metabolites and short chain fatty acids , modification of host molecules such as bile acids, or directly through bacterial components such as lipopolysaccharide .

Advancing Technologies For Microbiome Research

Dr. Yadav received a PhD in biochemistry from the National Dairy Research Institute, India, in 2006. He conducted postdoctoral training in cell biology and metabolic diseases at the NIHs National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Yadav has published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers and serves on the editorial boards and as a reviewer for several high-impact journals. He speaks frequently to scientific audiences and the media about the role of the gut microbiome and its modulators in age-related disorders, the gut-brain axis, probiotics and other biotherapeutics.

As director of the university-wide Center for Microbiome Research based at USF Health, he organizes technologies to advance microbial studies, including human microbiome/probiotics biorepositories, tools to grow bacteria and perform fecal microbiome transplantation, machines to sequence the genomes of microbes, and bioinformatics pipelines to robustly analyze massive volumes of sequencing data.

The image on the computer monitor depicts the movement of food through mice intestines labeled with a fluorescent dye. | Photo by Allision Long

Also Check: Mayo Pregnancy

In Conclusion Listen To Your Gut

Treat your second brain with care. Maintaining a healthy gut is the avenue to a more energetic, stress-free you. Pay attention to how your digestive tract is feeling and see if it lines up with whats going on in the mental health department. If youre feeling anxious and unmotivated, it might just be an issue with your microbiome. So embrace those beneficial bacteria and feed them well!

You May Have Heard How Important It Is To Heal A Leaky Gut But Its Just As Important To Address Permeable Blood

How leaky gut affects your whole body

Linked to a variety of chronic health issues, leaky brain is a surprisingly common problem that can be addressed with proper anti-inflammatory dietary and lifestyle modifications.

The protective barrier you never knew you had

The blood-brain barrier is a protective layer in the circulatory system of your brain, serving to filter and block harmful substances while allowing beneficial nutrients to pass into the brain and cellular debris to pass out.

However, certain circumstances can break down the blood-brain barrier and cause it to become hyper-permeable, or leaky.

When unwanted substances enter the brain, they can cause brain inflammation linked to conditions such as:

  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia and other psychological disorders

What causes a leaky brain?

More and more functional medicine patients are becoming familiar with leaky gut. If you have leaky gut, chances are you have leaky brain too as similar mechanisms cause it.

Leaky gut and leaky brain frequently occur together as their root causes are similar:

  • Chronic stress
  • Poor diet and antioxidant status
  • Head trauma
  • Elevated homocysteine from B vitamin deficiency
  • Environmental toxins
  • Chronic infections
  • Excess alcohol consumption

If you have any of the symptoms of leaky brain and this list of causes rings some bells, then its worth looking into how to support the health of your blood-brain barrier.

How to support a healthy blood-brain barrier

You can help support your gut health through the following:

You May Like: What Happens If You Take Linzess After Eating

Following The Leaky Gut Diet

Fortunately, ample support exists on the internet today. There are online tribes for many variations of this diet. They include Paleo, primal, GAPS, SCD, and more. Many, many people have adapted some version of this diet and are happy to help and support others.

I dont like to give hard and fast rules as to what to eat or how many grams of carbs to eat beyond the guidelines in this chapter. Your health and your symptoms are the best feedbackgetting trapped in dogma or group-think can sabotage your ability to monitor your body and how it responds to the foods you eat. I do like people to pay attention to their blood sugar symptoms and markers and keep blood sugar stable, often a good basic guideline with which to start.

Leaky Gut Affects The Whole Body

Daily life takes a toll on your gut. Chronic stress, processed foods, bacteria, and other factors can contribute to leaky gut syndrome. Also known as intestinal permeability, the effects of leaky gut can be seen beyond just the GI tract. The health of the gut can affect not only your digestion but your mood, weight, immunity and more.

Also Check: What Does It Mean When You Keep Having Heartburn

Probiotics Prebiotics And The Gut

Gut bacteria affect brain health, so changing your gut bacteria may improve your brain health.

Probiotics are live bacteria that impart health benefits if eaten. However, not all probiotics are the same.

Probiotics that affect the brain are often referred to as psychobiotics (

26 ).

One small study of people with irritable bowel syndrome and mild-to-moderate anxiety or depression found that taking a probiotic called Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 for six weeks significantly improved symptoms .

Prebiotics, which are typically fibers that are fermented by your gut bacteria, may also affect brain health.

One study found that taking a prebiotic called galactooligosaccharides for three weeks significantly reduced the amount of stress hormone in the body, called cortisol .


Probiotics that affect the brain are also called psychobiotics. Both probiotics and prebiotics have been shown to reduce levels of anxiety, stress and depression.

How Are The Gut Microbiome And Inflammation Correlated

Leaky Gut, Leaky Brain? Understanding the Gut Brain Connection with Dr Emily Splichal

Each persons gut contains a specific and unique set of microbes that work together to aid our digestive and immune systems, among other functions. A balanced gut will help keep your brain, digestive, and nervous systems healthy, while an imbalanced gut is a risk factor for countless problems .

Healthy gut microbiota support the mucosal barrier and regulate the foreign pathogens that enter the body through antimicrobial and immunological properties . They also play a role in the bodys ability to regulate brain chemicals, including neurotrophins like brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which support neuron regeneration and overall survival . When the gut is dysregulated due to a number of factors , not only does the body become less effective at regulating the systems and chemicals mentioned above, it also leads to a weakened mucosal barrier . Pathogens are able to escape more easily, and then the bodys immune system responds with an inflammatory response . This response can promote further dysregulation of gut microbiota, more inflammation, and continued leaking in an already weakened intestinal mucosal barrier, creating a cycle of hyperpermeability .

Also Check: Can Magnesium Citrate Cause Heartburn

What Foods Help The Gut

A few groups of foods are specifically beneficial for the gut-brain axis.

Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Omega-3 fats: These fats are found in oily fish and also in high quantities in the human brain. Studies in humans and animals show that omega-3s can increase good bacteria in the gut and reduce risk of brain disorders (

How Does Leaky Gut Happen

The intestinal barrier is made up of cells linked together by tight junctions. These junctions control what is allowed to pass through into the bloodstream this is how vitamins and nutrients are absorbed by the small intestine. Normally, these tight junctions remain small enough to prevent the passage of any harmful compounds that may cause disease.

But when the intestinal barrier becomes damaged often as a result of a diet high in inflammatory foods such as sugar, dairy, and processed foods these joints can become compromised. Tiny particles that would normally be blocked are allowed to leak into the bloodstream, allowing them to cause damage throughout the body.

Read Also: Can Align Probiotic Cause Nausea

Working With A Practitioner

Patients often come to me having struggled with migraines, anxiety, and/or depression for many years, if not a lifetime. They really want to get better but dont know where to begin. When they start working with me, I start by looking at all the information that we have from their past experiences and from tests that may have already been performed.

Next, we consider further tests to help us gather additional information about exactly which stress messages are perpetuating the vicious Gut-Brain-Gut cycle so we can address them very specifically. These tests might include a food sensitivity panel, a salivary cortisol panel, a urinary neurotransmitter panel, a stool analysis, or blood work to identify nutrient deficiencies or hormone imbalances.

Once we have all the information we need, I help my patients create a step-by-step strategic plan to address each of the issues in a manner that allows their body to heal. Throughout this process we keep an eye on how their body responds to treatment and adjust the plan accordingly.

To help structure this process, I have designed a 6-month program specifically for healing Leaky Gut. It allows us to discover exactly what you should eat and what you should avoid, and which herbs and supplements you need to take to help improve your digestion. To find out more, .

Five Strategies To Fix A Leaky Gut


A combination of strategic supplementation and lifestyles changes can be used to help seal and heal the damaged intestinal lining.

Your functional medicine provider will craft an individualized treatment plan for your specific needs. Generally speaking, you’ll need to remove the bad, replace the good, restore helpful bacteria, repair the gut lining and reset your life.

Find out more about these five steps to addressing leaky gut below.

Also Check: How Do You Pronounce Microbiome

Mental Illness And Gut Dysbiosis

Mental illness such as bipolar, depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders are not only caused by trauma, physical or emotional stress, nutritional deficit, infection, hormonal imbalance and/or genetic susceptibility, but can be inflammatory conditions related to the function of the immune system and the health of the gut. Over 500 species of bacteria comprise the gut microbiome, consisting of about 100 trillion organisms.

Social and psychological stressors affect not only the immune system, but also the bacterial composition of the gut, favoring the growth of species that promote inflammation. These inflammatory species have a direct connection with the brain via the neurotransmitters they produce and the vagus nerve receptors in the gut. The vagus nerve seems to be capable of differentiating between harmless and potentially harmful bacteria, even when there is no inflammation, and vagal pathways can send signals to the brain that can induce either anxiety-producing or calming effects.

Intestinal Permeability And Autism

, researchers confirmed an association between gut microbiota imbalances and autism.

A 2010 study observed increased IP in autistic people and their first-degree relatives. However, reported no significant differences in the IP of autistic children.

Scientists must carry out more research to establish whether IP plays a role in autism.

Since many doctors do not consider leaky gut to be a legitimate medical condition, there is no standard treatment.

However, certain dietary and lifestyle changes may help people to improve their gut health. This, in turn, may alleviate leaky gut symptoms.

The following dietary tips may help to improve gut health:

  • eating more probiotics to boost beneficial gut bacteria
  • eating foods rich in prebiotic fiber, such as vegetables and whole grains
  • eating less meat, dairy, and eggs
  • avoiding added sugar and artificial sweeteners

The following lifestyle changes can improve digestion and support a healthy gut:

  • exercising regularly

You May Like: Can Align Probiotic Cause Nausea

Eating The Mediterranean Way

Olive Oil by Iconixar from The Noun Project

Rather than making wholesale changes to your eating habits, start with small steps toward adopting the Mediterranean diet. Instead of cooking with corn oil, use olive oil. Swap white bread for whole grain. At your next barbecue, skip the burger and opt for grilled chicken. For breakfast, say no to a muffin and make an egg frittata with vegetables and feta cheese.

At every meal, there’s an opportunity to make different choices: fresh fruit instead of cookies, unsalted nuts instead of french fries, sunflower seeds instead of croutons, fish over pork chops, to name a few.

By signing up, you agree to our and .

In general, try to eat whole grains, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables every day. Incorporate fish and shellfish, poultry, eggs, cheese, yogurt, beans, and nuts several times a week, and reserve red meat for rare occasions.

Try one of the developed by Linda Monastra, a chef and graduate of the National Gourmet Institute in New York City.

Development Of The Microbiome

How your GUT and Digestion affect your BRAIN

The microbiome is initially developed via vertical transmission through the placenta, amniotic fluid, and meconium. Two animal study suggested that fetuses exposed to prenatal stress in the form of maternal stress develop a gut microbiota with decreased Bifidobacterium., Two separate studies concluded that the mode of delivery affects the initial microbiome and gut microbiota. Infants delivered vaginally had higher amounts of bacteria in their gut compared to infants delivered by Cesarean section., Beginning with the first week of life, gastric colonization is highly dynamic. This critical period during birth and GI development is essential for newborn health and immunity. Microbiota underdevelopment during this period has been correlated with numerous stress states including lateonset sepsis, cardiovascular disease, and atopic disease.

Cessation of breastfeeding is the primary diet change that leads to an adult-like microbiome. Children who were weaned from breast milk up to age four showed similar patterns of microbiota development as children weaned at an earlier age, indicating that the length of time to transition from breast milk to solid foods was not as important as the transition itself.

Read Also: Do Bananas Help With Bloating

How Leaky Gut Affects The Body

Gut health is closely linked to many other functions throughout the body. If you arent properly absorbing vitamins and nutrients from the foods you eat, it can lead to a wide range of health symptoms. Your immune system function can also be compromised, and the inflammatory responses that occur throughout the body in the presence of foreign particles can cause additional processes to malfunction. In short, a leaky gut can affect nearly every area of your health not just your digestive health.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Leaky Brain

Leaky Brain manifests as multiple signs and symptoms, so pay attention to these as opposed to ignoring them:

  • ADD/ADHD/Autism spectrum disorders
  • Brain fog or difficulty concentrating
  • Chronic fatigue that does not improve with rest or sleep
  • Headaches or migraines that come on suddenly become worse with standing, and grow more severe as the day progresses
  • Memory loss or another cognitive decline which may lead to dementia and Alzheimers disease
  • Mood disorders, particularly anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia
  • Peripheral neuropathy or muscular sclerosis
  • Seizures

It is important not to ignore these signs and symptoms because those living with Leaky Brain are at an increased risk of developing neurological or psychiatric conditions. Many of these conditions are considered signs and symptoms of Leaky Brain, but they may also be counted among the causes of Leaky Brain.

Leaky Brain Can Cause:

Diseases that Contribute to Leaky Brain include:

Read Also: Can Omeprazole Cause Diarrhea

What Does Your Guts Brain Control

Unlike the big brain in your skull, the ENS cant balance your checkbook or compose a love note. Its main role is controlling digestion, from swallowing to the release of enzymes that break down food to the control of blood flow that helps with nutrient absorption to elimination, explains Jay Pasricha, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, whose research on the enteric nervous system has garnered international attention. The enteric nervous system doesnt seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brainwith profound results.

The ENS may trigger big emotional shifts experienced by people coping with irritable bowel syndrome and functional bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain and stomach upset. For decades, researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to these problems. But our studies and others show that it may also be the other way around, Pasricha says. Researchers are finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system that trigger mood changes.

These new findings may explain why a higher-than-normal percentage of people with IBS and functional bowel problems develop depression and anxiety, Pasricha says. Thats important, because up to 30 to 40 percent of the population has functional bowel problems at some point.

More articles

Popular Articles

What To Avoid When You Have Ibs

Are Probiotics Good For Gerd