Brain, Gut and Immune System Directly linked
Brain gut immunity is a new and upcoming. Recent research is showing there is something substantial to it. The technical name of the field is called neuroimmunology, this field is comprised of neurology (nervous system) and immunology (immune system). The best positioned doctor to help change your neuroimmunology is the chiropractor. The doctor of chiropractic focuses of the function and expression the nervous system by removing interference (static blocking signal aka bad cellphone connection) Dive into this, enjoy, and find out why.
There is a direct link between the brain and the immune, and digestive systems. All of the organs, muscles, glands, and every cell is connected to the brain. The primary mechanism is through the spinal cord located inside of the spine (for protection) and the nerves that connect to all the organs, muscles, and glands.
Scientists have found that there are additional vessels in the brain meninges called lymphatic vessels. They are similar in idea to blood vessels, but act as a special “service access” for the immune system. This is new and powerful information to the health community because before anatomic studies had not found this. This is profound because this helps explain how brain conditions are developed and progress.
Research about brain gut and immunity is popping up like weeds recently. The gut microbes known as gut flora or bacteria are associated with autism. Also noted, it is due to an overreaction by the immune system (click here to read up). The intestines are ONE cell thick and can be compromised, which explains the immune connection. Upwards of 70% of the immune system is housed around the digestive tract. The immune system is directly controlled by the nervous system. Many neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis have a history of being linked to changes in immune system function. More interesting is gut autoimmune diseases including Chron’s disease and those similar are associated with mental illness.
To recap, brain controls all organs, organ systems (immune and digestive) and muscles. The immune system primarily lives in the digestive system, digestive dysfunction is associated with brain disorders. The brain affects the gut and the gut affects the brain, the communication is mediated via the nervous system and spinal cord and chiropractors are the doctors that specialize in optimizing these crucial communication pathways.
The gut controls the brain?
The gut (small and large intestines) are directly linked to the brain via the nervous system. The gut contains trillions of microbes, mostly bacteria. Some of these bacteria are “good” and make vitamins, make digestion possible. Others are “bad” and impair our digestion, leach resources away, or damage our one cell thick digestive membrane.
There is a special sub-station of the nervous system located in the gut. It is known as the enteric nervous system (ENS). It can work independently (spinal reflex loops) and dependently with the brain in our skull. There is a large “highway” devoted in the nervous system known as the gut-brain axis.
This pathway between the brain and the gut brain is responsible and why a stressed out mood can cause indigestion, anxiety make you feel “sick to your stomach,” or why eating certain foods can change your mental state (coffee anyone).
From the Scientific American there is a powerful link between the brain and gut. The brain gut connections travels both ways. The microbes in the gut make neurotransmitters, vitamins, and other neuroactive chemicals that “feed” the brain. The brain commands the digestive and immune functions that shape the gut’s microbial composition.
They have found that the bacteria inside the gut alter immune function, and brain performance. When stressed, immune system suppressed, or the digestive lining is compromised the “bad” bacteria we mentioned before leak into the blood stream and cause havoc on the body. The latter is commonly known as leaky gut syndrome. All of the chemicals, neurotransmitters, and bacteria now in the blood have profound impacts on the brain / nervous, and immune systems.
Brain gut inflammation
Inflammation can start in the gut, which is also the first line to stop it. All of the bacteria in the gut as we previously mentioned release neuroactive chemicals, one of those types are cytokines. The cytokines are similar to txt messages from one cell to another. They tell immune cells where to go when the inflammation pathway is kicked into overdrive. There is one major nerve that controls these “txt messages.”
The vagus nerve is a critical nerve. Vagus nerve is strongly associated with the 1st cervical vertebra or C1. If misaligned C1 causes interference blocking proper communication along the vagus and other crucial life bearing nerves. Chiropractors are the only doctor trained to detect, analyze, and correct these vertebral misalignments and remove the damaging interference. Vagus nerve controls messages from all the organs in the picture above. Approximately 90% of the communication between brain and gut travel through this single nerve. When the cytokines from the gut travel up the vagus and reach the brain, the brain formulates a plan of attack and rallies the immune system letting it know where to go. If the cytokines are damaging in nature they will send bad messages to the brain, causing the brain to damage itself (neurological diseases).
What you can do to improve brain gut connection
To close up on brain gut health we will be going into steps to improve and strengthen your body. We know there are trillions of bacteria living in our gut, some good, and some bad. To improve our health we want to feed the good and starve the bad.
The good bacteria like certain foods. The ones that help feed and build up the number of good bacteria are call prebiotics. Prebiotic foods that are great for the good bacteria are primarily fermented foods. The ones that have been found best are: sauerkraut, tempeh, fermented pickles, miso, natural organically grown yogurt, and kefir. By regularly eating these you promote the good bacteria and are programming your gut.
The bad bacteria don’t benefit from the prebiotics we discussed above. Sugar is the favorite food of the bad bacteria and they need it to survive and grow in number. The problem is that the average American consumes approximately 156 lbs. of sugar each year or about ½ lb. each day.
To care for the neurological aspect of this complex topic, you need to get tested. It’s important to optimize the brain gut connection provided by the vagus and additional nerves. Consider seeking a chiropractors advise on if there is interference / damage to the vagus and digestive nerves. In the office we provide this detail nerve system function testing, remember chiropractors are the only doctor who specializes in vertebral misalignment, the nerve damage it causes and correcting the problem.