What!  Bugs are controlling our brains?  I thought this was important enough to share with everyone.

I just read the book “BrainMaker” by David Perlmutter M.D. Dr. Perlmutter is a practicing neurologist, and in Brain Maker presents compelling scientific evidence about how our gut flora impacts our brain and nervous system.

There has been a lot of scientific interest in our gut flora(microbiome) in the last few years. The NIH ( National Institutes for Health) has been conducting a massive ongoing study on the human microbiome.  There is no longer any doubt that our health is intimately related to the our gut flora.

Now there is scientific evidence that the health of our gut flora has a huge impact on our brain and nervous system.  Unbalanced gut flora can lead to systemic inflammation which has a very negative influence on our brain.  Healthy gut bacteria also produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, GABA, glutamate, and BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), which stimulate neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells.)

Unhealthy bacteria even produce chemicals that cause us to crave certain foods that they thrive on!

Science show that our gut flora can directly influence all the following conditions:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Allergies
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Autism
  • Parkinson’s
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Energy Levels
  • Systemic Inflammation
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune conditions

In short, the gut flora affects the entire body including the brain and nervous system.  Dr. Perlmutter has found that in his practice, all the above conditions can be improved by balancing the gut flora.

The most common causes of an unhealthy microbiome are:

  • Antibiotics (taken directly and in food)
  • Birth Control Pills
  • NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Naproxen etc)
  • Environmental Chemicals
  • Herbicides in GMO Foods
  • Diets high in processed foods

Dr. Perlmutter outlines an easy to follow 6 step program to improve your gut flora:

  1. Choose Foods Rich in Probiotics, yoghurt, kefir, fermented veggies, kombucha etc
  2. Eat a high quality fat, low carbohydrate diet (Paleo)
  3. Enjoy Wine, Tea, Coffee, and Dark Chocolate in moderation.
  4. Choose Foods Rich in Prebiotics (Fiber)
  5. Drink Filtered or Spring Water
  6. Fast Periodically

For more details, read Brain Maker, or check out Dr. Perlmutter’s excellent website.

Our Microbiome is a critical component of our health, and I encourage everyone to become better acquainted with how healthy bugs can lead to a healthy body and brain.