Why your Gut is known as your Second Brain

Feb 28, 2023

Ever wondered where the phrase ‘go with your gut’ comes from? Why do we call it a ‘gut feeling’? Those little butterflies in your stomach, they are caused from your second brain, the gut.

The second brain, aka your gut brain is called the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). The ENS is made up of two thin layers that contain more than 100 million nerve cells. The second brain (ENS) communicates directly to the brain in your head and has a direct link from your gut to your brain. This direct lead of communication helps our gut to alert the brain when something is off.

So what effect does our little second brain have on our body?

Research has found that irritation in the gut can send signals to the central nervous system that alter and trigger mood changes and stress levels. The gut to brain link is shown to influence your health regarding certain conditions or health diseases. This can include both physical and mental health. Anger, anxiety and stress can all be feelings caused by a trigger in your gut.

Stress+ bloating and inflammation

When we are stressed, hormones are released into the body that can negatively impact our gut mobility, digestion and inflammation. Stress can affect the delicate balance of bacteria in our gut, causing gut discomfort. Our digestive system cannot function properly when under too much stress.

Your second brain (the gut) is actually what causes you to respond to situations in fight or flight. For years we have been told our brain, anxiety and stress is what causes gut issues. However, research is showing it may actually be the other way around, and that our gut can affect our mental health. Poor gut health has shown to send signals to our nervous system resulting in an altered mood.

Keeping our gut health in check is incredibly important for not only our body and health but also our mental health and brain.

Your second brain/gut can also help to build and boost your body’s immune system, helping to protect against infection. When your gut is imbalanced, your body may struggle to absorb healthy nutrients, resulting in unwanted weight loss or weight gain. Skin irritations then come into play when your gut is imbalanced. Skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis are often related to an unhealthy and unhappy gut.

Why is it important to keep your gut health in check?

Improving your gut health will not only help with inflammation, bloating, bowel and stomach issues. It will also help with mental health issues you may be struggling with, like anxiety and depression. Getting your health and gut health in check is ever so important to create a happy gut and happy mind. Minding what you eat and what irritates your gut can help reduce a lot of physical and mental health issues. A happy gut can lead to more sleep, less stress and more endorphins. Drinking plenty of water and finding what exercise works best for you will also help. Make sure to shake things up, if you’re finding high intensity workouts are putting your body and gut under too much stress, try some low intensity workouts instead.