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This is how the gut and brain are connected

Did you know that your gut communicates with your brain?

We know that our gut microbiome significantly influences our overall health and well-being. One of the most fascinating findings of recent research is how our gut influences our brain .

Gut-brain communication

Science has long discovered that our brain communicates with our gut - and vice versa. One of the main pathways for this communication is a nerve that runs the length of our body and directly connects our body organs (including our intestines) to our brain (1). This is called the vagus nerve and acts as a highway through which the brain sends signals to the intestines and the intestines send signals to the brain. So it can happen that when we feel stressed or anxious, it really upsets us. The vagus nerve also senses what is happening in our intestines and sends signals to our brain. This causes the brain to respond to the signals, for example by stopping us from eating because we are full (1).

Until recently, scientists believed that this gut-brain communication only involved signals from our bodies. However, over the last decade, increasing evidence has come to light that the microorganisms in our gut are also involved in this gut-brain communication.

Our microbiome communicates with our brain

We now know that substances produced by our gut bacteria affect the way our gut talks to our brain. For example, when our intestinal bacteria produce the beneficial short chain fatty acids (SCFA) butyrate and propionate, these stimulate our intestinal cells to produce appetite-suppressing hormones (2) and serotonin (3). These are both able to activate the vagus nerve in our gut to send signals to our brain (4). There is also evidence that some types of gut bacteria can directly produce the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and GABA (5).

"As research in this area advances, scientists are discovering more and more connections between the gut microbiome and our brain health."

Research in mouse models has shown that the gut microbiome is likely involved in brain development, social behavior, cognition, and neuroinflammation (6-8). Studies have also shown differences in the intestinal microbiome of healthy people compared to people with neurodegenerative diseases (9) and mental disorders. When scientists transplanted the stool of people with major depressive disorder into mice, the mice began to exhibit depression-like behaviors (11).

Diet can influence the communication between the gut and the brain

Interestingly, research also suggests that the primary substances produced by bacteria when consuming fiber, the SCFAs butyrate, propionate and acetate, likely play an important role in mediating communication between the gut and brain (12). For example, mice treated with SCFAs before exposure to long-term stress had reduced depressive/anxious behavior and improved intestinal barrier compared to mice that did not receive SCFAs (13). Another study showed that a high-fiber diet led to increased production of SCFAs and reduced neuroinflammation in aging mice (14). These effects on the brain remain to be confirmed in humans, but we know that SCFAs also play many important roles in the gut, such as maintaining the intestinal cell barrier, preventing inflammation, regulating appetite, and promoting serotonin production (15 ).

"A good strategy for improving brain and gut health is to make sure your diet includes lots of different sources of fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds."

By the way, we at myBioma have created an entire recipe book with which you can feed your intestinal bacteria in a “species-appropriate” way. Find out more about: Microbiome food – recipes for your intestinal bacteria .

Although we are only at the beginning of our journey to unravel how the gut microbiome influences our brain, the latest findings suggest that this is an area that holds promise for developing future options for treating neurodegenerative diseases and mental disorders is.

Take control of your gut health

The gut microbiome impacts our overall well-being and plays a crucial role in mental health. By regularly checking your microbiome, you can find out what your gut health is like and take steps to maintain or optimize your health. With myBioma You can test your intestines from the comfort of your own home and receive personal nutritional recommendations based on your results. Try it now!


This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical information or instructions. The recipes are intended for inspiration and are not intended as therapeutic measures. If you have any health problems, we recommend that you contact a doctor or other expert immediately.


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Anni Grimm
Anni Grimm
Food-Enthusiast and Marketing Manager
Anni is not only a marketing ace but also deeply rooted in the fields of nutrition and gut health, knowing all the tips and tricks here!