Your gut is often referred to as the “second brain.” Your intestines house more than 80% of your immune system and act as a gateway to the rest of your body's systems, sifting out important nutrients from your food and distributing them throughout the rest of your body. Your gut is also where 95% of your serotonin is produced, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for your mood. Essentially, your gut responsible for your daily mood.
However, a medical condition known as leaky gut syndrome can keep your serotonin levels down, cause inflammation throughout your body, and lead to medical conditions such as brain fog, seasonal allergies, skin problems, and more. Just as the name would suggest, your intestines are naturally semi-permeable to allow micronutrients to pass through and into your bloodstream.
As we age, toxins, infections, stress, and even certain foods we eat can erode the tight junctions in our intestines, allowing intestinal waste and food particles into our bloodstream. As a result, our bodies go into a defense mode and attack these invaders, leaving us feeling bloated, foggy, and unhappy.
Leaky gut syndrome has been long-associated with celiac disease, and most auto-immune diseases, but gluten sensitivity is not the only trigger for this syndrome, food sensitivities cause inflammation in the gut also.
When your gut bacteria are less diversified or otherwise thrown out of equilibrium, your microbiome enters a dysbiotic (imbalanced) state. The lining of your intestines becomes more permeable (leaky), allowing bacteria, incompletely digested food molecules, and toxic metabolites that should stay well within the gut, to leak through and enter your circulation.
Once these inflammatory substances start circulating through your body, they can affect the permeability of the blood/brain barrier. There are many diseases and physiological stressors that affect the CNS and alter the functional integrity of the BBB also. They affect the barrier's ability to selectively restrict the passage of substances from the blood to the brain, affecting the CNS.
Inflammation in the body may lead to direct and even disruptive effects on the brain via the blood–brain barrier, and more research is showing it can also lead to mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, autism, mental decline, and even higher rates of suicide.
A leaky gut can lead to auto-immune disease, chronic diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes, but more and more research is proving it can also lead to mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, autism, mental decline, and even higher rates of suicide. It can also cause chronic headaches and joint pain.
The only way to turn this around is to change what you eat, manage your stress, and use specific nutritional supplements to eliminate inflammation and heal the gut. Then, over time the integrity of the intestinal and blood-brain barrier can be restored.