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Gut Health & Brain Function - What's the Link? Webinar

17 November, 2022

Gut Health & Brain Function - What's the Link? Webinar


[00:00:00] Olga Ischenko: Good evening. Tonight we'll explore the connection between the gut health and the brain function. Okay. So I see a lot of clients coming with brain dysfunction, whether it's insomnia or mood imbalances depression, anxiety, and one more data now. Indicating that there is a connection between the, how well our gut works and the impact that it has on our brain function.

[00:00:37] So we'll begin by exploring the basics of the digestive system. Okay, so we'll have a look at how the gut works. The. The issues that can arise within digestive system and understand how [00:01:00] the God actually impacts our health systemically, then we'll delve into the microbiome what it is and. We'll look at the importance of the composition and diversity of our microbiome.

[00:01:14] We'll touch on the difference between the probiotics and probiotics, as I hear that question a lot in clinic. And then we'll look at the health benefits of the microbiome in the gut and systemically so for our overall health. And after that we'll explore the connection between the gut and the brain and how the health of the gut influences the health of the brain.

[00:01:38] And what is the direct correlation between these two systems? We'll look at the typical symptoms of the gut brain dysregulation and Discuss some strategies around how we can improve gut and brain health and resolve symptoms. I'll encourage you guys to ask questions to make it as interactive as possible.

[00:01:57] If there's something you'd like to learn [00:02:00] more about and I'm not talking about it, please yeah, you can pop a question in a chat or unmute yourself. I'll be more than happy to. Do that or answer questions as we go along so you don't forget. So let's start out with our gut. So what is digestion? So simply put, digestion is the breaking of food into smaller particles so that the tunes can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

[00:02:27] Okay. We're looking at the mechanical digestion and the chemical digestion. So the mechanical digestion is the chewing of your food. Okay. And the chemical digestion involves obviously the release of digestive enzymes. Okay. And the hydrochloric acid. So as as we look at the structure on the topical structure of our digestive system, it looks like a long tube.

[00:02:52] We specialize sections beginning from the mouth and ending in the, at the anus. Actually the digestion [00:03:00] begins in the brain. And that that is called the cephalic phase of gastric secretion. So when we look, smell food meeting people, as we look at food, smell food that process activates the release of digestive enzyme.

[00:03:16] Okay, so put the food in the mouth. We chew it and the release of saliva occurs and saliva is not a neutral substance. It actually has antibacterial properties and it contains an enzyme called amylase that breaks down carbohydrate. After that the food moves down their esophagus and their esophagus is lined with muscles that move in wavelike contractions.

[00:03:41] Okay. And through this this processes called perces and it moves the food down into the stomach. And the stomach has a few different functions. Okay? So it releases digestive or hydrochloric acid. And it. Which provides [00:04:00] antibacterial properties. Okay, so this is our first line of defense and people that take PPIs or any anthes compromise this first line of defense and increase the risk of infections and dysbiosis in the gut.

[00:04:15] It also releases some digestive enzymes called psin, for example, which breaks down a preliminary break, breaks down protein Okay. After stomach. Okay. So the food is liquified and it moves into the molen intestine. So it's, you concentrate now. Thank you. So what happens now? Just make sure that you're not just making sure.

[00:04:42] Okay. As you can see, the small intestine is quite convoluted and it is like that for a reason. Because it's so highly folded. It actually increases the surface area to maximize absorption of nutrients. So the first part is geo denim, and this is where [00:05:00] all the gastric contents. Are neutralized cuz they're quite or acidic.

[00:05:04] Gastric contents are neutralized by, carbonate by the release of, by carbonate from the pancreas. So then it travels into geo genome and sorry, into genome and ileum where the absorption happens. So the inner lining is again, highly folded and it contains what's called vili. And this vili, they're like finger-like projections that increase the surface area and again, maximize the absorption of nutrient.

[00:05:35] So if we were to straight out just those two parts of the intestine, it would be about four to six meters. So it's quite impressive how that much of volume can fit into a such small area of our abdominal cavity. So after that this time travels into a large column. Where the water is absorbed and the [00:06:00] remainder travels into or towards the rectum.

[00:06:02] And the anus. So two things about the colon. It houses microbiome. So most of our microbiome is in the large colon, and it also contains past patches, which is an immunological organ. That protects the gut from, or provides immunological protection in the gut. Okay, so most of the immunity I guess about 70 to 80% of the immunity is actually in the gut.

[00:06:32] Okay. That's why it's so important for any immune regulation to treat, to begin, to treat, to begin with the gut or begin treatment. in the gut.

[00:06:45] So the accessory organs we're looking at the liver here gallbladder and the pancreas. So the liver is very important. Organ it plays an important role in multiple functions. So it produces bio, it stores minerals, sorry, stores, [00:07:00] vitamins and minerals as well. It regulat. Blood sugar.

[00:07:03] Okay, so it stores glycogen, which is a store form of glucose. So whenever we need to regulate our blood sugar, the glycogen is converted to glucose, and importantly, it also plays a crucial role in detoxification. So the liver, Has three phases of detoxification, converting toxic material into water soluble material that is discredited.

[00:07:29] Okay? So it filters blood every six minutes. It's quite impressive in the hard working organ that we need to look after. In the healthy individual, it would weigh about a kilo and a half. If in the client with cystic liver or fatty liver, it can weigh up to 10 kilos. And in an individual like that, all those functions are compromised.

[00:07:54] The gallbladder it stores bile. Okay. So bile is crucial for [00:08:00] lipids or emulsification of lipids or fat digestion, and it's also a natural a natural laxative and the pancreas. Can you put yourself on mute please? Thank you. And the pancreas is important for the release of digestive enzymes.

[00:08:16] So when the food gets into the small intestine, it stimulates the production of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. And each macronutrient would have its own enzyme. So carbohydrates are digested by Amy lasers lipids by light paces, and protein by peptidases. So very often if there is a level of in digestion in clinical practice, we do prescribe digestive enzymes because they're important for regulation of inflammation as well.

[00:08:46] Cause if the food is not digested, it starts to ferment and cause a lot of issues like bloating and flatlands or constipation or diarrhea. So let's just have a look at the multiple [00:09:00] functions of the gut. So it works as a guard sustaining and protecting our overall health. So I mentioned before that gut can or is our first line of defense against bacterial infection or viral infection or fungal infection.

[00:09:15] And if that line of defense is compromised then. The risk of infection is highly increased. Okay. Or mu absorption as well. So it allows us to absorb water nutrients converts food into the building blocks breaking down protein into amino acids, and then rebuilding a different type of protein that the body requires.

[00:09:39] For example, it produces up to 70% of all our neurotransmitters like dopamine, ga, serotonin, serotonins also involved in. In the regularity of bowel movements. So in that constipation type of picture making sure that adequate levels of serotonin are produced is important. [00:10:00] So as I mentioned, 70% of our immunities is found in the large colon.

[00:10:04] So it supports the immune system, communicates with the brain. It houses the enteric nervous system. Okay, so again it constantly in communication with the microbiome and the autonomic nervous system, which is your sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of the nervous system. So the sympathetic nervous system regulates the fight or flight response, and the parasympathetic nervous system is for digestion, relaxation, and healing.

[00:10:33] So would you like stress, mood, pain? Again, through microbiome as well as the vagal nerve and the enteric nervous system. And yeah, obviously it has the gut microbiome or the gut the diversity of gut populations that will determine our overall health.

[00:10:52] Video: The digestion of food takes place by the passage to several.

[00:10:56] Olga Ischenko: Digestion begins in the, so I just wanna make sure. Can you [00:11:00] hear? Can you hear the video?

[00:11:08] Video: Oh. When the teeth grind and crush food into small particles and mixed with S and enzyme, that breaks down starches. The esophagus delivers food to the stomach. In the stomach food mass is mixed with hydrochloric acid enzymes and other gastric secretions. That further digestion the acidic environment helps reduce growth of harmful bacteria.

[00:11:33] The small intestine is the primary site for digestion of food, nutrients and water absorption. The small intestine is divided into three parts. The duo, the and the ile. The ileum is important for vitamin B12 absorption. The biliary system includes the gallbladder, bile ducts, and some cells in the liver, the gallbladder stores and concentrates [00:12:00] bile.

[00:12:00] It releases bile into the D to help absorb and digest fats together with secretions from the pancreas. This helps to further digest carbohydrates, fats, and protein. The liver processes nutrients absorbed from the small intestine. Bile produced by the liver assists in fat digestion. The liver also detoxifies potentially harmful chemicals.

[00:12:26] The liver breaks down and secretes many drugs. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the duo deum to help break down protein, fats, and carbohydrate. The large intestine removes water from undigested matter and forms solid waste to be excreted. The large intestine is the site of bacterial fermentation of remaining carbohydrates and protein components.

[00:12:54] The large intestine also synthesizes small amounts of vitamins, for example, vitamin [00:13:00] B12 and stores and excretes feces. The rectum receives rule from large inte. And hold stool until it is evacuated. The anus is important for control of stool.

[00:13:17] Olga Ischenko: Great,

[00:13:21] so we'll. If you have any questions, you can mute yourself or put a question in the chat. We'll discuss what constitu and what issues arise and then we'll move on talking about microbiome. So if you don't have any questions, I'll I'll delve into the next step. Healthy gut. It requires quite a few systems to work within that gynecology.

[00:13:47] So we're looking at the microbiome, the enteric nervous system that I mentioned before. The quality of diet and the amount of fiber to fit the microbiome. The quality of, or the integrity of the [00:14:00] gut wall barrier. Okay. And digestive enzymes. So whether we secrete enough digestive enzyme to enzymes to initiate a digestion process.

[00:14:10] So if any of these aspects are compromised the overall function or the digestive capacity would decrease. Okay. Which means, which can lead to not just inflammation, the gut, but also issues more systemically, more globally within the human body. So the intestinal permeability.

[00:14:32] When increased will allow toxic components as a result of digestion or if there is an infection and the pathogenic bacteria produced those toxic components to be released into the circulation. And leaky gut is impacting your joints, your brain. It can lead to autoimmunity blood sugar dysregulation, fatigue skin issues like psoriasis and acne.

[00:14:58] So as you can see, [00:15:00] the gut is the foundation of health. It's the where our health really begins. And in any condition, this is where we need to turn to, to understand how what's happening in God can be impacting everything else that happens in the body.

[00:15:18] So Irritable Bowel syndrome whoever asked me about ibs, you can unmute yourself and we can talk about it in a more detail. Do you have any specific question in relation to ibs?

[00:15:32] Attendee: Thanks, Olga. Yeah, just the, if the pro/ prebiotics are any good for the IBS, and if there's any wonder foods that you know that you can eat nearly every day or every second day, just a little bit of to, to help that. Is that the yogurt and all of those sort of.

[00:15:53] Olga Ischenko: So when it comes to ibs, so we're looking at the nervous system dysregulation and low grade [00:16:00] inflammation and then imbalance in the microbiome. Clients that come or they have the diagnosis, or we suspect they have the diagnosis, a lot of them have sibo, okay?

[00:16:10] Which is a small intestinal bacterial overgrow. So very often we'll be testing those patients for for this type of dysbiosis in the small intestine and putting them on what's called low FODMAP diet. Have you heard of the low FODMAP diet?

[00:16:26] Attendee: Yes, I was seeing Alex for a little bit. And is it Celia? I think it was Celia before that they, that was wonderful.

[00:16:37] The low FODMAP. Okay. I'm still following

[00:16:40] Olga Ischenko: it and

[00:16:41] Attendee: it's done wonders for me.

[00:16:43] Olga Ischenko: Okay. So for those that don't know FODMAPs are small carbohydrates that are not digested in a small intestine, and so when they get into the large colon, they tend to draw fluids. Get fermented by the bacteria that are there and [00:17:00] cause a lot of irritation in the gut and it can lead to bloating, fluid retention or diarrhea, constipation.

[00:17:08] So alternating between constipation, diarrhea, depending, or what sort of what other symptoms they have or the type of infection they have in the small intestine. Yeah. Whether it's methane based or hydrogen based. Bacteria and FODMAPs. The stand for fermentable Oligosaccharides, which are what your grains are.

[00:17:29] Gluten in containing grains like wheat and rye barley as well as onion and garlic and legumes. Disaccharides. So it's lactose founded dairy. And monosaccarides are simple sugars. So that would be a good example would be honey or apples, just fruit or some fruit and polyols like sorbitol and manitol found in artificial sweetness and some fruit and veggies as well.

[00:17:57] So eliminating those specific foods. [00:18:00] Okay, so there is an app developed by Monash University that you can download and follow. Or a meal plan developed by nutritionists or dietician or naturopath for six weeks. And generally after six weeks during that six weeks, we do a lot of gut repair and after six weeks we start to not only gut repair, but also elimination of any infection.

[00:18:24] And after six weeks, we start to reintroduce foods one by. Okay. And generally during those six weeks, people find that the inflammation does come down. They lose some weight that was there due to fluid accumulation. The brain fog reduces and they just feel so, so much better and. Essentially the patients do work out what works for them.

[00:18:47] Those foods out and then introducing them one by one makes the picture so much more clear as to what they're react to and what they can or can't have moving forward. For most patients who would be just one or two foods, or food groups.

[00:18:59] So [00:19:00] for example, if they react to gluten, They find substitution for that, and that's what fixes their issue. Yeah. They find that culprit eliminate it and changes everything the way they feel, the way they eat and the way they absorb their nutrients as well. So who was asking me about ibs?

[00:19:18] Attendee:

[00:19:18] Thanks. So I'll go, what you've just said is, yeah, wonderful.

[00:19:22] Olga Ischenko: If there's still a bit of dysbiosis or SIBO even though you're on low FODMAP diet, the probiotics can disturb the microbiome causing some side effects. So we really need to dig deeper. To learn if there is a chronic infection that we need to, or dysbiosis that we need to eliminate Okay. To get that long lasting relief.

[00:19:44] Attendee: I think I'm at that stage. If I don't stick to the low FODMAP, then that's, I find that I, yeah, get into a bit of trouble if I eat too much garlic and too much onion. I've only put tiny bits in now [00:20:00] just for the flavoring. , and that seems to. Make a big difference and small amounts of the fruit and vegetables.

[00:20:07] Yeah. I'm back onto most of them, but yeah, steering clear of that. Those are four main things, the gluten, the lactose, and. And yeah,

[00:20:19] Olga Ischenko: and sometimes it's just the depth of gut work that you do and if you stick with it and generally recommend like anywhere between three to 12 months, depending on the extent of the symptoms and how long they've been there.

[00:20:32] And I find that if you do a deep gut work the symptoms don't come back or they might, but it's not gonna be an ongoing issue.

[00:20:42] Attendee: So is that doing, just staying with the low FODMAP or is there a little bit more to it? Are you able to go into that or

[00:20:49] Olga Ischenko: so as I said, we have to look at other factors, do more testing to see if dysbiosis is part of it, if stress is part of it.

[00:20:56] Attendee: Yes.

[00:20:56] Olga Ischenko: If leaky guard is part of it, find out like [00:21:00] how long the gut repair was done for. And yeah, just do more investigation into it, if that makes sense. So you can contact me and we can discuss it on the phone if you like. Yeah.

[00:21:11] Attendee: The goats milk, is that more beneficial for those, or is that still got the lactose in it?

[00:21:18] Olga Ischenko: It doesn't have as much lactose. Yeah. Yeah. But a lot of people can tolerate it much better because of the structure or the of say calcium protein, that is not as inflammatory as it is in cow's products.

[00:21:32] Attendee: Thanks for that, Olga.

[00:21:34] Olga Ischenko: It's okay. My pleasure. So we're looking at IBD or inflammatory bowel disease as well.

[00:21:40] So 70,000 Australians do with I B D. And under the umbrella of I B D, we've got Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and Coeliac. So also, Ulcerative colitis generally impacts the large colon starting in the rectum. Crohn's can impact any part of the of the digestive system and Coeliac yeah, [00:22:00] mainly impacts the small intestine where the absorption of nutrients occurs.

[00:22:05] Okay. And that's an autoimmune reaction to gluten. So that inflammatory environment impacts the integrity of the gut wall barrier, and then obviously the systemic inflammation gets quite extensive as well.

[00:22:27] So food sensitivities. We looked at FODMAPs already, dairy lactose. It could be also caesin. So a lot of people don't take that into consideration and they just ate lactose. Specific products or they have lactose free products and still continue having symptoms because they might be reacting to caesin, which is the protein part.

[00:22:46] And gluten, gluten is quite for a lot of individuals, whether you get symptoms or not. And especially for those individuals that do have mental health presentations, whether it's anxiety or depression or insomnia eliminating gluten [00:23:00] for 30 days actually makes such a huge difference, even though they have no direct gut symptoms.

[00:23:05] Okay, so we'll have weak spots. Some people feel it in their joints. Some people feel it in their brain. Some people feel it in their guts.

[00:23:19] Okay. Microbiome, why is it important? It's important because we're actually more of a microbial being than a human being. There are the gut microbiome is made up of hundred trillion microorganisms, and that's about 10 times more than we have our human cells.

[00:23:36] Okay. So we are more a microbe then a human. Interestingly. When we look at the health of the microbiome, we generally look at diversity and the composition. There'll always be some pathogenic bacteria but it's all about the balance. So 85% of good bacteria and 15% of bad bacteria. Organisms like candida, for example, or e coli, [00:24:00] are quite a healthy part of of your gut microbiome.

[00:24:02] But when they get out of control and overgrow, that's when problems start to set in. The factors that influence the type and the variety of the microbial populations that you have, or what defines your unique bacterial fingerprint are the following. So how you were born.

[00:24:22] Okay. Whether you had cesarean birth or vaginal birth. Natural vaginal birth. First foods as a baby. So the microbiome, your unique microbial fingerprint is formed within the first three years, more or less three years, depending on the person, the environment that stays with you for the rest of your life, okay?

[00:24:41] Can fluctuate here and there, but that fingerprint is yours, is your unique for as long as. Age and gender where you live now, stress level can impact the diversity and the composition. The microbiome is very conducive to the growth of bad bacteria, medications like antibiotics and the pill [00:25:00] and the quality of your diet.

[00:25:01] So whether you have enough soluble fibre to support the production of small chain fatty acids by the by the good bacteria and the small chain fatty acids are important to reduce inflammation and to maintain the health of their microbiome by,

[00:25:20] so why is it important? The microbiome supports the digestion of the food that you eat and the nutrients you absorb. Healthy energy production, it controls inflammation and supports some immune function. So it supports the production of serotonin, GABA, and dopamine. , so improving your mood, vitamin production such as folate, vitamin b12, and k2.

[00:25:44] So as a human body, we do not manufacture any vitamins, but the microbiome, if it's healthy, can. So it's important in healthy metabolism and weight maintenance. It [00:26:00] supports bone metabolism, improves sleeps, manages pain, supports healthy reproductive function. Actually there's a microbial population or the group of microbes that called estrobolome and they support healthy estrogen metabolism.

[00:26:18] So women that have PMS or symptoms of PMS generally will look into their gut and the liver function as well because microbiome is implicated in that process. Microbiome dysfunction. So what impairs the function of the microbiome?

[00:26:38] As I mentioned, they love their fibre. So poor diet is a big contributor.

[00:26:45] Food intolerances that increase inflammation. Leak to leak your gut and my absorption of nutrients. Medications I mentioned those antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, steroids, the acid blockers as I mentioned before. The [00:27:00] peel as well.

[00:27:02] Environmental toxins, heavy metals. Can incite inflammation, but also pesticides that is quite common in our food, herbicides, BPAs. Okay. That's in plastic, so whatever we look, yeah, there are always environmental factors that can be influencing the health of our microbiome and the gut overall.

[00:27:25] So alcohol and smoking.

[00:27:28] Excessive stress.

[00:27:29] And overgrowth of yeast and bacteria So when that happens, it can lead to a number of conditions. Okay. Because that depend on the health of the microbiome and when the microbiome is diseased it can only lead to say Crohn's disease, but also as I said, mental health issues, type two diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, which is very gluten related and inflammation, gut inflammation related. So any autoimmune conditions really.[00:28:00]

[00:28:03] All right, that's our video.

[00:28:04] Video: What is the microbiome, though? We don't often think about it.

[00:28:09] We're actually more non-human than human. Trillions of microscopic organisms or microbes call the human body. Organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even microscopic animals live all over our body, on our skin, and even inside us.

[00:28:28] These tiny organisms make up our microbiota, and most of them, about 95% live in our gastrointestinal tract, more commonly known as our gut, and the combination of micro. Their genes, the environment they live in and the stuff they produce is called the human microbiome. We've actually known for a long time that the human body is teaming with microscopic organisms.

[00:28:54] Dutch scientists, Anthony Van Liven Hood observed bacteria scrapings from his mouth way [00:29:00] back in 1683. But it's only relatively recently that we've begun to study the relationship between our microbiome and our health. And while the research is still in its infancy, the microbiome has been linked to everything from obesity, asthma, and allergies to autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

[00:29:20] The microbiome also influences how our brain functions and is linked to conditions such as depression, anxiety, and stress. These links explain why there is now an emphasis on creating or maintaining a healthy gut. And a healthy human gut consists of several thousand types of bacteria as well as other microbes.

[00:29:41] Though some types would be more common than others, the exact composition of a person's microbiota is unique and it's constantly changing. It depends on what you eat, where you live, who you live with, what you touch, and even how you were born. Before we are born, we have very little, if any, [00:30:00] microbes inside us.

[00:30:01] Microbes really start to colonise our bodies the moment we are born. The way we are born, either naturally or by cesarean, influences the type of microbes we first contact, and hence the type of microbes that will first colonise our bodies. Babies born naturally come into contact with micros found in the mother's intestinal and vaginal tract.

[00:30:23] Whereas in a cesarean birth, babies tend to be colonized by microbes typically found on the skin and in hospitals. Similarly, breasted babies will have a different microbiota profile than formula fed babies. From the day we are born, our microbiome evolves quickly and reaches maturity during the first two to five years.

[00:30:43] After that, it stabilizes resembling that of an adult. As adults, changes to our microbiota are likely to be. But major shifts in composition can occur when we radically change our diet or take antibiotics which kill bacteria. Significant [00:31:00] live stages such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause also cause large changes to our microbiome.

[00:31:06] And as we get older, our microbiome ages two and the number of microbe species decreases. Since most microbes are in our colon or large intestine, what we eat feeds our microbiota. And what a healthy microbiota needs are. Fiber-rich, complex carbohydrates. Simple sugars found in refined carbohydrates tend to be absorbed quickly and don't reach the colon for the microorganisms to feast on.

[00:31:34] But complex carbohydrates can't be digested in the small intestine and make their way into the colon where bacteria breaks them down through fermentation, enabling us to use nutrients we couldn't otherwise. And the microbiota provides essential vitamins that we can't make our. Such as B vitamins, perhaps most important of all the microbiota helps our immune system develop effectively, training it to distinguish between good microbes [00:32:00] and bad pathogens that cause disease.

[00:32:03] This symbiotic relationship between humans and the trillions of microscopic organisms that live on and within us has evolved over thousands of. And we couldn't survive without the many specialized functions they provide.

[00:32:30] Olga Ischenko: For your mind blowing, isn't it?

[00:32:35] So just a little slight to make a distinction between probiotics and probiotics. Probably most of you already know that probiotics, the, are the microbial populations which are which have so many extensive benefits that we've just talked about. And probiotics are there's specific herb or plant based soluble fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria, making sure that they produce the very [00:33:00] valuable short chain of fat acids which reduce inflammation and support the health of the microbiome and the intestinal lining of the gut.

[00:33:11] All right, so we come into our last section of the presentation, talking about the gut brain connection or link. So the gut and brain, they, they're linked. Okay? They're linked through and the microbiome is like an intermediary that enables that communication to happen between the gut and the brain. As you can see from this slide here, from the picture here. So what happens between the brain into microbiome in that direction?

[00:33:44] So the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Neuromuscular control of peristalsis or bowel movements. The activation of the autonomic nervous system. Okay. By communication through the enteric nervous system and the secretion of [00:34:00] mus. Okay. And then from the gut to the brain.

[00:34:04] We've got the vagal nerve activation, which is the parasympathetic nerve within the autonomic nervous system, and it controls the relaxation response. Okay, so the immune signaling. Okay, so microbiota to brain, so whatever happens in the gut on the level of immunity will be reflected in the brain.

[00:34:24] So if the gut is inflamed and it leads to leaky gut, the brain will be leaky as well. Okay? So the blood brain barrier will be compromised and toxins will get into the brain activating the immune response within the brain. Yeah. Therefore, brain integrity is or bear integrity of the gut is correlated with the bare integrity of the brain.

[00:34:45] So this interaction between the gut and the brain plays a significant role in both gastrointestinal and mental health. So when that connection is in balance, both the gut and [00:35:00] the brain work well. Okay. When. Anything changes within that dynamic then we start to see, so that can be contributed by stress or poor microbial function.

[00:35:13] We start to see changes in how the gut functions and how the brain functions. So leading to a number of symptoms So before we talk about the symptoms, I just wanted to mention what your inflammation is. Okay. So as I said before, the dysbiosis is in the gut or any any factor that leads to inflammation in the gut and the leaky gut or the, where the integrity of the gut wall bare is compromised, would lead to the leaky barrier within the brain. Okay. And that leads to activation of microglia in the brain as a result of disruption of the blood brain barrier. Okay? So that inflammation is neuroinflammation. So [00:36:00] symptoms like brain fog, anxiety, depression, they are actually a symptom of neuro inflammation that most likely they get in the gut.

[00:36:12] So this is a quite a complex picture, but it doesn't have to be. All it's showing is what I've just actually said. Gut microbiota balance, if you have more pathogenic bacteria growing, that leads to integrity impairment of the intestinal wall barrier. And that results in chronic inflammation.

[00:36:31] And that inflammation disrupts how the blood blood brain barrier works and activates the microglia and results in your inflammation and degeneration of what impacts how the neurons communicate with each other. It impacts. How neurotransmitters are released. So looking at serotonin, dopamine, GABA.

[00:36:53] So serotonin and GABA are relaxing neurotransmitters and dopamine is a reward neurotransmitter. So it [00:37:00] actually compromises how your brain functions overall. So chronic stress can also lead to changes within the brain. So chronic cortisol, chronic high cortisol levels can actually change the size of hippocampus, for example where learning happens, where memory happens.

[00:37:19] And that inflammatory response is only aggravated by cortisol. So these are the symptoms of gut brain imbalance bloating heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, ibs , sugar cravings, chronic fatigue, brain form, memory loss, insomnia, fibromyalgia psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and behavioral disorders including ADHD and autism.

[00:37:47] So quite Quite an extensive list covering so many different areas of the human body really.

[00:37:56] So there's some tests available for gut dysfunction. [00:38:00] Okay. So we can look at the or assess if there is a level of infection, whether it's H.Plyori or any other worms or parasites. Pathogenic bacteria that lead in the gut and the immune system can't resolve them.

[00:38:13] We can analyze the stool for the functional markers of the gut whether there is candida overgrowth and how we absorb nutrients. Yeah. So microbiome mapping. Yeah. We check for infections and dysbiosis. Food sensitivity testing or food intolerance testing is really helpful. When people struggle with ongoing constipation or diarrhea.

[00:38:33] And certain elimination diets do not work. So sibo testing. So we test for Glucose or relation between lactose and glucose. And then we can also test lactose for lactose and fructose intolerance, which is a breath test.

[00:38:51] So for ibs the SIBO breath test can be very valuable. Because if if SIBO is present or small bacteria overgrowth [00:39:00] we can implement a sibo, a specific diet, which is quite similar to FODMAPs but more strict in some ways, and some clients find it really helpful.

[00:39:13] So what can we do to improve the gut brain function?

[00:39:17] Okay, so we start with the gut. Yeah. Seal and heal the gut. Identify if there is a a degree of infection. Eliminate the infection, repair the gut wall barrier making sure that the immunity of the gut is improved and will reduce the inflammation. Okay. So as we seal the gut, we can support the brain.

[00:39:38] If there is A level of adrenal fatigue, definitely looking at the stress levels and how we can manage chronic stress and repair or rebuild the resilience of the HPA axis or hypothalamus pituitary adrenal access. Again, to reduce inflammation and to support how the enteric nervous system works.

[00:39:58] Support the [00:40:00] production and release some neurotransmitters. Okay, so we talked about GABA and serotonin in the context of anxiety. Which is really important to support to elimination if necessary. Managing stress, again, it feeds in, into adrenal health and HPA axis health and into consideration the impact that stress has on the health of the microbiome and how we absorb nutrients and how we eliminate.

[00:40:38] There's a little slide to show. What stress does within the gut, so it impacts gut microbia slows down mucosal blood flow activates or sensitizes the enteric nervous system. Okay, so makes it so you feel pain more acutely, reduces secretion of digestive enzymes. Disregulates, gut motility. So [00:41:00] therefore you can help that alteration between Constipation and diarrhea and increased paracellular permeability or inter intestinal permeability.

[00:41:09] So what can we do to take care of our gut in terms of foods that we eat? Again, working out what is causing the issue. Yeah. What is causing the inflammation? So what might be healthy for someone might not be healthy for someone else due to food sensitivities or dysbosis is that they currently experience but essentially opting for a diet that is rich in soluble fiber.

[00:41:40] And again, it has to be done very carefully because sometimes eating too much fiber can actually cause A side effect can cause more bloating cuz the if there is a level of s and the fermentation happens in the wrong place it can cause side effects that are not I [00:42:00] guess what we look for when we treat a patient, So starting very slowly, understanding what the targeted or what we are treating.

[00:42:09] So that's why I always prioritize testing. Not always, but in most cases I do. To understand what we are targeting and what we are treating. So these are just general guidelines but might not be suitable for everybody.

[00:42:29] So if there is if somebody presents with anxiety, for example, or depression, definitely working on the nervous system, or brain fog, for example, work on the gut and then stimulating blood flow into the brain. So using hopes like Rosemary or gingko. Can use Bacopa as well. Turmeric is fantastic for healing the gut and reducing inflammation in the gut and systemically.

[00:42:56] So you can use rosemary as well as a [00:43:00] herb or turmeric in your cooking. So the kind of easy or accessible ways to improve gut and brain function. And detoxing, like not just from junk food, but also from digital junk food. I suppose the really managing stress in a very holistic way.

[00:43:23] Whatever works for you, whether it's. Walking 15 minutes a day, watching movies, not being in front of the screen every day. Just giving your brain a bit of a a bit of space to, to detox and relax and rewire the nervous system. Reset the nervous system.

[00:43:43] Yeah, you're ready to get started if you have any. So we are done. This is all I wanted to cover with you today. I really encourage you to ask as many questions cuz it's really deep and extensive topic and there's just so much research that's coming out around gut brain [00:44:00] connection and how important it is for our overall health.

[00:44:02] So if you've got any specific questions that are pertinent into your situation, somebody that you know, yeah.

[00:44:09] Attendee: I could probably do all of those, to be honest. . Yeah. I like the last point there about the weekend about the digital detox.

[00:44:17] Olga Ischenko: Yeah. So relevant in these day and age, we're all addicted to a certain degree to something. Yeah. Just so much overload, sensory overload, or nervous systems.

[00:44:43] Attendee: Hi. I was just wondering, so how would you know the condition of your gut? Is it based on whether you have those symptoms that you've mentioned, or generally, yeah.

[00:44:52] Olga Ischenko: You look at the symptoms cause they a client comes in feeling something, right? So we take a thorough [00:45:00] case history, and then I'm just trying to understand what those symptoms mean. And if they've been happening for a long time, then I would suggest testing. Yeah. Oh, okay. So based on symptoms and then we can do additional testing. We can definitely start with gut repair and work on the diet. And then depending on the symptoms tell us as we move forward in our treatment, that we can evaluate even further and understand the picture more fully. Yeah, so it does take time. Yeah.

[00:45:38] Attendee: And so what is the best way to start improving your. Whole system in within itself? Is it just simply changing your diet? Is that the best way to

[00:45:49] Olga Ischenko: I think it's a really powerful way.


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About the Author

Olga Ischenko - Naturopath & Medical Researcher

Olga is dual qualified Clinical Naturopath & Medical Researcher.