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Bloating, stress and inflammation via the gut-brain axis (GBA)

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Posted

November 11, 2014

Categories

Gut Health, Nutrition Articles

There is now a huge body of evidence which demonstrates the biochemical signalling between the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (gut) and the nervous system (NS). Research suggests the bidirectional GBA functions as a pathway for the gut microbiota (microbes living in our gut) to modulate brain function of its host.

Many of our clients come to us with bloating problems and the vast majority of these clients are not managing their stress levels well at all.  Many of you will be running your own business or working long hours in the City but have no or little time for spending anytime in some form of daily relaxation practice or some period in the day when we are experiencing life through our bodies rather than in our heads.  To be exact we have become ‘human doings’ rather than human beings.  We dwell on the past and plan things for the future but spend very little in present moment awareness.

This bloating often goes hand in hand with skin problems, especially acne.  Some clients will have poor quality and/or quantity of sleep, foggy head, limited concentration and energy issues.

“Recently, there has been a rethinking  of how the Central Nervous system  (CNS) and periphery communicate showing that commensal bacteria are important to CNS function.”

Antibiotics, GI infections and stress cause changes in gut homeostasis, imbalancing the central nervous system (CNS).

Different probiotic strains have shown to modulate the immune system, decrease anxiety and reduce excess hormones; extended to symptom reduction in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic fatigue.  Conversely, numerous studies have shown that psychological stress suppresses beneficial bacteria; inflammatory markers triggered from gut during stress response have shown to disrupt brain neurochemistry and make people more vulnerable to anxiety and depression vicious cycle.

Our bacteria outnumber our cells by 10:1 and up to 85% of our immune system is located in our gut therefore when seeing clients with bloating, skin problems or fatigue we normally take a two pronged approach: getting clients to adopt stress reduction practices an improving gut immunity and integrity.

So to summarise our thought patterns and behaviour directly affect the balance of bacteria in our gut and this cycle also works in reverse.

Therefore it is not surprising that clients with bloating have imbalanced (and unwanted) bacteria in the small intestine (SIBO) and quite often in the large intestine as well.  This can be tested for in both cases and quite often we combine an adrenal stress index test as well to evaluate the level of adrenal fatigue involved.

Bloating, lethargy and skin problems are generally quite easy to resolve and normally resolve in 3-6 months of treatment and remain resolved unless the client adopts the same dietary and lifestyle habits that got them there in the first place.

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The London Clinic of Nutrition is a multi-disciplined health practice offering personalised nutritional medicine and naturopathy using the functional medicine approach.

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