Have you ever wondered why you can always trust your gut?
It’s likely because your brain and gut are constantly communicating with each other.
What’s more, this back-and-forth plays an important role in your health and wellbeing.
This article explains the different ways your gut and brain are connected.
How are they connected?
The gut and brain are constantly communicating with each other.
They do so in many ways through a complex network called the gut-brain axis (1).
Here are some of the different ways your gut and brain communicate with each other.
Through your nervous system
The nervous system is a network that relays messages between your brain and body.
It’s made up of nerves and special cells called neurons, which control many important processes such as your reflexes, muscle contractions, heartbeat, and much more.
Millions of these nerves are located in the gut and relay messages to and from the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help the brain communicate with the body.
They play important roles, like controlling your feelings and emotions.
Through your gut bacteria
Did you know that trillions of bacteria live inside your gut? (9)
Collectively, these bacteria are called your microbiota and they are crucial to your health.
For starters, these bacteria make chemicals that affect how your brain works (10).
This includes short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, propionate, and acetate (11).
Summary Your gut and brain are connected physically through nerves. They also relay messages through chemicals called neurotransmitters, and by the gut bacteria, which make compounds that can affect your brain health.