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What is the Gut-Brain Axis

Can the bacteria in our gut affect our brain function?

The connection between our brain and our gut is already part of how we describe experiences - having a "gut-feeling" a "gut-wrenching" moment or feeling nervous with "butterflies" in the stomach. These expressions have become commonplace for a reason. We now know there is a connection between our brain and our gut.

Scientists call this connection the gut-brain axis3 - the two-way dialogue between the brain and the gut where information flows between the two organs.

There are three main communication channels between the brain and the gut:4

  • the nervous system
  • the immune system
  • the endocrine system (hormones)

A key physical link that relays the information between the gut and the brain is the vagus nerve.5 This nerve relays information using molecules called neurotransmitters (chemical messengers). Approximately 80-90% of nerve fibres in the vagus nerve are going from the gut to the brain.6

What role can specific gut bacteria play in the gut-brain axis?

Evidence shows that bacteria (also known as microbes) in the gut can act on the gut-brain axis and hence influence gut-brain communications.4

The gut produces more than 90% of the serotonin found in your body 7 -  this is a neurotransmitter that can affect your mood and feelings of happiness and pleasure and research has shown that gut bacteria can impact its production in the gut.8

Current research indicates that a gut with a healthy microbiota is a strong predictor of health and wellbeing9.

Zenflore® and the gut-brain axis

The 1714-Serenitas® culture in Zenflore® has been clinically studied1It acts by becoming part of the gut microbiota that is involved in the gut-brain axis, the two way communication between the brain and the gut.

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