Simply put, our every-day food can help or harm our mind-body health. Another example that proves the brain-gut connection is when we think of food and the appetite is stimulated. Similarly, a gut in distress can cause stress and mental depression. Nearly every brain-controlling chemical is generated in the gut, including hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, GABA and nor epinephrine. The gut is home to 100 million neurons – more than what the spinal cord has. It also contains 24 minor brain proteins, major cells that regulate immune function, one of the body’s in-built opiates, and native bensodizipine. Recently there has been one more addition to the nervous system: The gut, also known as the enteric nervous system.
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Breast really IS best: Mothers’ milk fills a child’s digestive system with essential ‘good’ bacteria
A thriving population of beneficial gut bugs is vital to an infant’s digestive health and immune system development. The new research suggests that the bacteria can be transferred to a suckling baby in breast milk. Swiss scientists found identical strains of the microbe Bifidobacterium breve and several types of ‘good’ Clostridium in both a group of babies and the breast milk they were being fed with. Good bacteria from the milk of breast-feeding mums can protect the digestive and immune system health of her baby, say scientists The strains may help establish a critical nutritional balance in the guts of infants and could be important for preventing intestinal disorders, they believe. Study leader Professor Christophe Lacroix, from the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health in Zurich, said: ‘We are excited to find out that bacteria can actually travel from the mother’s gut to her breast milk. Number of children dying from heart defects has fallen by more than 80% in the last 30 years ‘A healthy community of bacteria in the gut of both mother and baby is really important for baby’s gut health and immune system development. ‘We’re not sure of the route the bacteria takes from gut to breast milk but, we have used culture, isolation, sequencing and fingerprinting methods to confirm that they are definitely the same strains.’ The findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Environmental Microbiology.
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