Mind-Gut Connection and Mindfulness

What is the connection between the mind and the gut? Can gut health be improved through mindfulness and meditation?

“Mindfulness can boost immunity via the gut microbiota. As per a previous article I wrote here on Mindful, the human body is comprised of trillions of micro-organisms, most of which reside in the gut, which are called the gut microbiota. It turns out that the gut microbiota are key players in the development and maintenance of the immune system; the bacteria in the body that helps distinguish between intruder/foreign microbes vs. those that are endogenous. Studies have shown that stress tips our microbial balance, putting us at risk for dysbiosis, (a shift away from “normal” gut microbiota diversity), stripping us of one of our prime defenses against infectious disease, not to mention the cascade of reactions that ensue, which potentially wreak havoc on the central nervous system (CNS). Mindfulness-based stress reduction impacts our immune system by helping to maintain healthy gut microbiota diversity that is often upset by stress.”

Yup.

From Train Your Brain to Boost Your Immune System.

The connections are fascinating!

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Clostridium clostridioforme

“High Clostridium clostridioforme which is associated with diabetes, low gut diversity, inflammatory conditions and human invasive and severe infections like bacteremia. Often it produces alcohol and other toxins, which are associated with inflammation, artery hardening, and histamine responses. Alcohol from microbial fermentation results in blockages of multiple enzyme pathways in the host including the degradation of histamine. When more histamine accumulates, subsequently, the host has more allergic reactions, congestion, rash, headaches or other manifestations of high histamine. These are all secondary to a dysbiotic and imbalanced gut.” (source)

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Cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria: residing in our gut appear to help generate B and K vitamins that we depend upon for nutrition. Although it was originally believed that the cyanobacteria in our gut originate from the chloroplasts in plants we eat, research indicates that our gut cyanobacteria are different strains that evolved to specifically inhabit our digestive tracts and help us ferment sugars we digest into acids and alcohols. Despite being commonly known as blue-green algae, cyanobacteria are in fact ancient bacteria that arose over three billion years ago. More than two billion years ago, cyanobacteria living alongside early forms of plant-life were actuallyabsorbed by plant cells and became what we now know as chloroplasts (Source Ubiome).

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ProteoBacteria

ProteoBacteria: Along with Firmicutes, Proteobacteria are the most common gut microbes in Westerners. Although all of us carry these microbes, folks with inflammatory bowel disease seem to have more Proteobacteria and fewer varieties of other bacteria. Interestingly, the proportional representation of Proteobacteria increases dramatically in the digestive tracts of pregnant women in their third trimester. (Source Ubiome).

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