Do any of these sound familiar?
- Do you struggle to lose weight? No matter what you do, the scale won’t budge?
- Do you feel that your thinking is “foggy”, that it lacks focus or clarity?
- Do you feel anxious, wake up at 4 a.m. ruminating over a problem, or feel burned out?
- Do you walk into a room and forget the reason why you entered? Have you ever struggled to find the right word or remember a familiar name?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be an indication that your gut-brain axis is not working correctly.
Most people don’t realize that there is a line of communication between the gut and the brain. Furthermore, this relationship goes both ways. The gut-brain axis is a mutually dependent and supportive relationship. Gut function affects brain function and vice versa.
Which means you need to know the signs of a gut-brain axis dysfunction, what are the implications for your long-term health and how you can fix it? Let’s delve deeper into the science behind the gut-brain axis.
What Is the Gut-Brain Axis?
The gut-brain axis (GBA) refers to the vast communication between the gut (and its enteric nervous system) and the brain (i.e., the central nervous system), which links the gut with the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain. If a patient comes to me complaining of brain fog, the first thing I am going to check is their gut for low-level inflammation. I think of inflammation as beginning in the gut and extending to the brain, and often brain inflammation doesn’t turn off unless you do something actively to cool it.
The most common root cause of gut-brain axis dysfunction includes:
- excess stress and other causes of increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
- antibiotic use
- dysbiosis (imbalance of gut microbiota)
- nutritional excesses (sugar, inflammatory fat)
- nutrient deficiencies (such as not enough prebiotic foods)
- loss of microbiome diversity
- food intolerances
All of these lead to an increase in inflammation, which is the final common pathway for GBA disruption.
What Are Common Signs that Your Gut-Brain Axis Is Disrupted?
You may experience symptoms first in your gut and then your brain or the other way around. The classic gut symptoms are gas, bloating, loose stool, gluten, dairy sensitivity, acid reflux, and difficulty losing weight. Feeling swollen or puffy, brain fog, anxiety, moodiness, and early memory loss (short-term memory first) are additional indicators of inflammation, which usually can be traced back to the gut.
What’s the Impact on Your Long-Term Health?
It is important not to dismiss signs like forgetting a person’s name or where you parked your car as a sign of “getting old.” Even though the symptoms described above are common, they are not normal and over time can impact the long-term health of your body and your brain. The progress of inflammation along the gut-brain axis begins with gut dysfunction then progresses to brain fog but it doesn’t end there. Over time, brain fog or neuroinflammation can turn into depression, anxiety, memory loss, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This is why it is important to address symptoms of GBA dysfunction when they start to appear.
How to Address Gut-Brain Axis Dysfunction
Sugar is our body and brain’s worst enemy. It disrupts our microbiome and robs it of balance. A high intake of refined sugar can lead to lower cognitive function, harms the brain and limits its ability to repair injury. The first step in resetting the balance would be to reduce or avoid refined sugar altogether.
- Consume good fats like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, avocados, nuts.
- Increase your fiber intake as this prevents dysbiosis
- Eat prebiotic food such as sauerkraut or kimchee
- Exercise on a regular basis as physical activity improves brain function.
- Practice meditation for 10 minutes a day
- Get more rest. When you don’t get enough sleep, inflammation rises in the brain
Supplements that can help improve the health of the gut, thereby reducing inflammation in the body and brain, include:
- Probiotics to encourage diversity in the gut
- Vitamin C may act as a buffer to protect against the effects of cortisol (the stress hormone) and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) on the lining of the gut
- L-Glutamine to protect the lining of your gut wall
- Omega-3s to protect the brain-body from inflammation.
If you are experiencing brain fog or short-term memory loss, don’t ignore it as a sign of getting old. Taking care of your gut to protect your brain health is very important and relatively easy to do. We can’t prevent aging but we can control how we age so that we move into the later years of our life with a sharp brain, full of vitality.
In my newest book, Brain Body Diet, I outline the exact protocol I discovered to heal my own Gut-Brain Axis breakdown. It wasn’t until I fainted and smacked my head on my kitchen floor in 2015 that I hit upon a breakthrough that prompted me to write Brain Body Diet.
In the book, I share what I learned from my personal (and often frightening) experience about the central role of the brain in healing the body. Furthermore, I used this newfound knowledge to create a step-by-step protocol that will help you overcome what I call the “broken seven:”
• Toxic overload
• Rising body weight
• Brain fog (particularly during times of life where hormones are in flux)
• Predisposition to addiction
• Memory problems
The best part is that I’ve done the research for you; all you need to do is commit to a protocol that I’ve seen turn many of my patients (some of whom are profiled in the book) from aging adults to “healthy agers”—a term that Harvard researchers found accounts for only 13 percent of middle-aged women.
If you want to join that small but mighty club—and who wouldn’t want to? You’ll need to commit to the protocol for 40 days.
In committing to the protocol, you’ll make small but transformational lifestyle changes to rewire your brain—a profound process that will lead to a new, improved molecular dance within your gut, brain and body.
Trust me: This is one dance that you don’t want to sit out.
Here’s how you can access this new step-by-step protocol. Click HERE to visit my book page, and order as many copies as you’d like.
As my way of saying thanks for picking up the new book, I’ve put together a fun little bundle for anyone that pre-orders now. After you purchase the book, click the ‘claim bonuses’ button to submit your info and you’ll be entered to win a six-month supply of brain body support supplements (plus some other fun gifts for you too). Click below to order.