Many of us have “butterflies in our stomach” when it’s, in fact, the mind that’s anxious. Certain emotional/stressful situations make us feel nauseous while our brain’s the one detecting the stressful signals. Ever wondered why do we have “gut” instincts whilst our mind perceives a threat? And why our tummies have to react when our […]
According to the 2016 Rome IV update, functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) are now classified as disorders of gut-brain interactions (DBGI). International scientists have found that an abnormal GI tract relates directly to the microbiota-gut-brain axis that has far-reaching effects on psychological behaviors like anxiety and depression. DBGI is also a contributor to stress and irritability […]
Stress takes a heavy toll on various bodily functions. Cardiac problems, psychological disturbances, GI sensitivity, you name it – virtually all body systems are targeted by stress and anxiety. Prebiotic supplements fuel the growth of the good bacteria while inhibiting the expansion of the bad ones. They can help you calm down when you’re feeling keyed up. This post will address the subject on how prebiotics act as stress relievers.
Statistics indicate that the prebiotic fiber, which serves as a food for the beneficial bacteria, can alter the thoughts, emotions, and stress and anxiety levels in a number of ways.
Prebiotics Restore the Balance of the Gut Flora
Several experts now refer to the gut as our “second brain.” The brain interacts with our gut and the friendly gut bacteria communicate with our brain, indicating that an imbalance in the gut microbiome (dysbiosis) can lead to psychological imbalances and vice versa. This dysbiosis, in particular, lower levels of bifidobacteria underlie functional bowel disorders like IBS. Also noted in IBS, is the reduced production of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate. Likewise, decreased levels of both bifidobacteria and butyrate are responsible for the generation of mental disturbances like anxiety. Prebiotics, primarily fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) amplify both the number of bifidobacteria and the butyrate production. 
Say Hello to The Tiny World Inside!
If you could see what’s inside your gut, you’d see an endless number of tiny bacteria lingering around. The word ‘bacteria’ is enough to startle you as it is usually associated with illness. But these bacteria are the type that benefits you so called the friendly bacteria or probiotics.
The Gut-Brain Axis Explained
Researchers believe that the number of probiotic bacteria is ten times the number of your body cells (1). These bacteria have a profound role in disease and health. They even alter how your brain works. Brain? Yes, your brain. The bacteria in your gut actually communicate with your brain. Let’s break it down to understand it better.
The gut-brain axis is quite complex and contains three important components: the Central Nervous System (CNS), the Enteric Nervous System (ENS), and the Hypothalamic Pituitary Axis (HPA). Don’t lose it over these difficult sounding terms. Your CNS consists of your brain and the spinal cord. The ENS consists of a collection of nerve cells within your gut walls. In other words, your gut has a brain of its own. Finally, the HPA is the part of this system that secretes a number of hormones and other chemicals (2).
The gut-brain axis is a high-speed two-way lane. In simple terms, your brain signals your gut what to do and your gut signals back some feedback as well. The HPA receives some of these signals too and secretes hormones accordingly. So if your gut microbiome is happy, your brain will be happy too. If your gut microbiome is not doing well, things will go South for your brain too (3).