The Gut-Brain Connection: How Your Gut And Brain Work Together

Since over 90% of your serotonin (the chemical that creates a sense of happiness) comes from your gut, you’d think we’d understand our tums a bit better! 

Research shows that maintaining a healthy gut improves our mental and overall well-being too, which makes sense because of the ‘gut-brain’ connection.

What the heck is a gut-brain, you ask?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone if you’ve never heard of this connection before, but it plays a surprisingly major role in keeping you at your best.

We’ll show you how it works and how you can hack your gut-brain connection for a healthier you.

What Is The Gut-Brain Connection?

There’s a proven connection between our gut and our brain and it’s called the gut-brain axis. It refers to the way your gut communicates with your brain - as you might’ve guessed. 

The two are connected physically and biochemically in a few different ways, making it a super important part of your general health. 

This means that your gut can affect what goes on in your brain and your brain can affect what goes on in your gut. They’re like two old friends, constantly giving advice to one another over the phone. Except these guys never end the call!

It’s a consistent connection that uses various methods of communication to get across a huge amount of information. Most importantly, this connection can be affected by the things we consume and experience. 

How Are They Connected?

So how exactly does your gut talk to your brain when they seem so far away from each other? 

The science-y answer is that we have neurons in our brain and central nervous system (which essentially means your brain, your spine and all the nerves that connect them) that allows the two to be in constant, almost instant communication. The neurons act like messengers that have a direct line from gut to brain and vice versa, and we have over 100 billion neurons in the human brain. Not too shabby as far as messaging services go.

The part that most people don’t realise is that this is a two-way highway. Your gut also contains neurons which are connected to your brain. The connection between the two is made by travelling through the nerves in our nervous system - basically your body’s highway. 

What Is The Vagus Nerve?

If you can imagine this nerve highway as a mix of roads that all end up in your brain, then you can visualise one central road. It has lanes going both directions so your brain can both send and receive messages, and this main road is something called the vagus nerve. 

The vagus nerve is vital for your normal bodily functions and is important to your gut-brain axis. This nerve is responsible for your parasympathetic nervous system regulation, which includes things like regulating your digestion, immune system and heart rate. 

This nerve is so crucial to your ongoing gut-brain conversation that you can get pretty unwell if your vagus nerve isn’t functioning properly. Studies have found reduced vagal nerve tone in people with a mixture of diseases and illnesses like Crohn’s, IBS and anxiety. 

In fact, things like stress can inhibit the signals between your gut and brain and cause gastrointestinal problems aplenty. 

So… you can see why it’s so helpful to keep your vagus nerve happy and healthy, so that your gut and brain can keep in touch and keep you feeling your best.

Gut Microbes & Their Impact On Your Body

Other than this big nerve highway, your brain and gut can communicate through your immune system. Seems strange, we know, but your immune system is always on alert, telling your brain its current status and what it’s been up to lately. 

The thing that impacts our immune system, the gut-brain’s other method of contact, is your gut microbes. 

The microbes in your gut control what is passed into your body for use and what is… excreted (you know what we mean, don’t make us say it). If your particular microbes make your immune system stay on high alert for a long time, this can lead to inflammation. Which in turn can disrupt the conversation going on between gut and brain. 

Inflammation overall is usually bad for both ends - it can lead to brain disorders, including depression and dementia, as well as digestive problems like Crohn's disease. 

It’s simple when you think of how everything is connected in sequence. What all of that means is that a healthy microbiome equals a happy gut equals a healthy brain! And we like a healthy brain.

Lion’s Mane & The Gut-Brain Connection

This is the part where we start boasting about how much the medicinal mushroom Lion’s Mane can help your gut-brain connection, so brace yourself for facts and useful health hacks.

Lion’s Mane is a non-psychedelic, nootropic mushroom with a tonne of natural benefits that translate to real improvements in your well-being. It has all the health-boosting power without any of the kooky trips or visions you might expect at a Beatles tribute concert. 

This versatile shroom supports your gut-brain connection in two significant ways. 

First off, it gets to work in your brain by stimulating the growth of brain cells, reducing inflammation and protecting your neural pathways. That’s incredible news for anyone struggling with mood or brain disorders like anxiety and depression or schizophrenia and Alzheimer's. 

Secondly, it takes care of your gut health. The properties of Lion’s Mane have been found to support the digestive tract itself, as well as reducing gut inflammation. By basically offering your immune system a helping hand, your gut can recover and protect itself from things like inflammatory bowel diseases and chronic inflammation. 

By the time Lion’s Mane is working its mushroom magic, your healthy gut microbes will be supporting your immune system so it can function exceptionally and be one of the bridges between gut and brain. 

At the same time, your brain will be whizzing along on top form, with stimulated and protected neurons, making it easier for it to connect through your vagus nerve. Put together, this Lion’s Mane-boosted connection between your gut and brain will be more efficient and more effective than ever. 

Lion’s Mane Extracts That Support Your Gut-Brain Connection

Your gut-brain connection is a principal way for your body to regulate its overall health and responses to the outside world. If you’re having trouble with your gut, brain or even the highways that connect them, then a robust and research-proven supplement like Lion’s Mane can support your natural systems.

If you’re curious about which Lion’s Mane mushroom extracts to try, take a look at our 100% hot water Lion’s Mane fruiting body capsules. Your optimised gut-brain highway is just a mushroom away.

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