Gut Bacteria and Mental Health: How Inflammation Affects Us:  Thomas DeLauer

Gut Bacteria and Mental Health: How Inflammation Affects Us: Thomas DeLauer

Gut Bacteria and Mental Health: How Inflammation Affects Us: Thomas DeLauer

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that gut feeling that you get might be an actual thing I’m here to talk about the relationship between gut bacteria and our mood how what we eat and what we put in our stomachs and how our digestive system and our microorganisms work literally are starting to affect how our brains work we have to understand that we have over 100 trillion microorganisms in our gut that’s literally like ten times the amount of actual cells in our body and they dictate a big part of how our bodies respond to things you see our gut biomes are critical when it comes down to our nervous system development and our immune system development they have a direct line of communication with the brain and all has to do with something that’s called the gut brain access and I’m gonna explain more about it and some things that you can do to enhance the effect here later in this video so I want to make sure you stick with me but that gut brain access is essentially the line of communication the highway between the gut and the brain and there are now increasing bodies of research that are showing that gut brain access is directly the line of communication between the gut the brain and our gut health and our overall brain and mood health well let me explain the three different things that really dictate how the gut and the brain communicate the three are the vagus nerve the gut brain axis and the enteric nervous system I’m going to break them all down here the vagus nerve is a major nerve that runs from the base of your brain all the way down your spine through your thorax into your abdomen essentially what that vagus nerve does it controls almost all organ function from your neck down to the second part of your transverse colon that means if that vagus nerve is automatically regulating all the autonomous function of the organs they’re causing you to breathe causing your speech causing you to sweat causing your stomach tore all that is responsible with the vagus nerves so obviously there’s a major freeway connecting the brain and the gut right then and there okay the second one is the enteric nervous system the enteric nervous system is something extremely interesting what it is is essentially your second brain what the enteric nervous system does is it has a system of neurons that are in the gut between 200 and 600 million neurons that are in the gut they have their own ability to be motor nor on and dictate what the gut does outside of the brains control that’s why it’s known as the second brain something for this is a little bit more perspective if your stomach or your gut recognizes something it has the ability to operate completely autonomously from the brain and dictate its own thing so we have what’s called the central nervous system which is what our brain is and what our whole body is and then we have the ENS the enteric nervous system a separate nervous system that operates completely separate from the brain and calls its own shots and this is only getting more and more advanced as we evolve even more this basically means that the gut has the ability to influence its own activity but also influence the activity of the rest of our body because it still communicates with the brain which leads me to of course the gut brain access to talk a little bit more about that what the gut brain access is is a bi-directional communication between the gut in the brain it’s the direct communication and the studies are starting to show that there is a strong link between the emotional / cognitive effects and of course the overall peripheral nervous system effects of the gut itself this all has to do with that gut brain axis and this is where we’re starting to see the strong evidence of the guts performance affecting the brains performance this is the big tie in but you see how they all come together between the vagus nerve the enteric nervous system and of course the gut brain access we have a trifecta that is almost entirely dictating what our body does just by what goes in our guts now let me talk about a study that’s extremely extremely intriguing that encompasses almost all of this and this is the big study and it’s one that you’re going to find reference everywhere if you start looking at the enteric nervous system what this study did is it took three groups of mice okay and the three groups of mice were all going to be put under some form of stress in this case what they did is they took baby mice and they separated them from their mothers which is kind of a sad thing but at least it’s a natural way of causing stress and not harming the mice what they did is they took one group of mice that was completely germ-free it had no gut bacteria whatsoever okay it was left in a sterile environment with no gut bacteria the second group was a normal group of mice with a normal functioning microorganism and gut biome okay it was not sterile environment then the third group of mice was another normal group of mice that was not separate from their mothers there was no stress induced on that group of mice what they were looking at was what happens to the brain when gut biomes are affected and there’s still stress well what’s interesting is the first group of mice okay the group of mice that had no germs the group of mice that was in a sterile environment okay when they separated them from their mothers may induce stress what they found was there was an increase in corticosteroid and the stress hormones but there was no change in depression no change in anxiety or nothing like that okay then the next group the group that was a normal microbiome a normal gut biome they separated them from their mothers and caused some stress what they found with that group was that there was an instance of depression there was an instance of anxiety and it had to do with the gut microbiome then of course the third group there was no change at all because they didn’t induce stress on them well it’s fairly easy to conclude from that part of the study that there’s definitely an effect on the gut microbiome and the mood but they want to take it one step further so what they do if they took the germ-free sterile group and they introduce them and expose them to the gut bacteria from the other group and then they stress them again well guess what that group now that they had the gut bacteria they did see symptoms of depression they did see symptoms and anxiety again confirming that the link between the gut microbiome and stress can definitely end up playing a role in how our guts and brains communicate now this was just one major study it doesn’t necessarily link everything that’s happened with humans but it does put things in perspective and encourage us to start looking at how powerful the enteric nervous system is so now what can you do to start taking back control of your brain health via your gut health well one thing is to make sure that you’re getting your probiotics in whether it’s from probiotic foods or probiotic supplements whatever the case may be in that particular situation what it does is it increases something called gaba okay and what gaba stands for is gamma-aminobutyric acid and that is a big component of your brains calming ability GABA has been shown to promote calmness in the brain and is also shown to increase when we consume probiotics but additionally good gut bacteria also helps the brains receptiveness to gather in the first place so that’s one of the strongest links to feeling good solving mood issues and getting rid of some of that irritability that takes place when you’re over all stressed out now although it’s not the end-all be-all it’s definitely something to start looking into and understanding how powerful the gut really is when it comes to dictating what our brains do so as always make sure you comment and let me know if you have any ideas for future videos but also if you have any interest in learning more about this topic because I don’t want to share all the details in one long boring video so as always I’ll see you in the next video make sure you keep it locked in here on my channel

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Gut Bacteria and Mental Health: How Inflammation Affects Us:  Thomas DeLauer

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Gut Bacteria and Mental Health: How Inflammation Affects Us: Thomas DeLauer

Microbiomes are communities of microorganisms that are a combination of both beneficial and potentially harmful bacteria

Lifestyle factors such as exercise and managing stress appear to dramatically affect the diversity and quantity of healthy microbiome in the intestines

The human gut harbors over 100 trillion microorganisms – approximately 10 times the number of cells in the human body

Microbes begin residing within human intestines shortly after birth. These microbiomes are vital to the development of the immune system and various neural functions – known as the gut-brain axis

*The gut-brain axis is the biochemical signaling that takes place between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system*

An increasing body of research results confirms the importance of the “gut-brain axis” for neurology and indicates that the triggers for a number of neurological diseases, specifically anxiety and depression, may be located in the digestive tract

How the Gut Interacts with the Brain

The gut is connected to the brain via the vagus nerve, the enteric nervous system, and the gut-brain axis.

Vagus Nerve

The vagus nerve extends from the brainstem down into the neck, thorax, and abdomen. The nerve exits the brainstem through rootlets in the medulla that are caudal to the rootlets for the ninth cranial nerve

The vagus nerve supplies motor parasympathetic fibers to all organs except adrenal glands, all the way from the neck down to the second segment of the transverse colon. It helps regulate heart rate, speech, sweating, and various gastrointestinal functions.

Enteric Nervous System

The enteric nervous system connects with the central nervous system. It contains 200-600 million neurons

Local and centrally projecting sensory neurons in the gut wall monitor mechanical conditions in the gut wall. Local circuit neurons, on the other hand, integrate this information.

This enables motor neurons to influence the activity of the smooth muscles in the gut wall and glandular secretions such as digestive enzymes, mucus, stomach acid, and bile

The enteric nervous system has been referred to as a “second brain” because of its ability to operate autonomously and communicate with the central nervous system through the parasympathetic (i.e., via the vagus nerve) and sympathetic nervous systems.

Gut-Brain Axis

Finally, the gut-brain axis consists of bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous system, linking emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions.

There is strong evidence from animal studies that gut microorganisms can activate the vagus nerve and play a critical role in mediating effects on the brain and behavior. (1)

Connections between the gut and the brain/Anxiety and Depression

Recent studies on laboratory animals that grow up without any microorganisms (germ-free) show that microorganisms in the gut are capable of influencing mood

Maintaining a Healthy Gut

No one knows the exact ingredients for a healthy microbial gut; however, having a diet rich in probiotic foods to maintain a healthy gut seems like the way to go

Probiotics seemingly boost mood in two important ways:

They generate a particular neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and also enhance the brain receptors for GABA as well.

GABA is calming amino acid, known to calm areas of the brain that are over active in anxiety and panic and in some forms of anxious depression.


1) Surprising Link Between Depression, Anxiety, and Gut Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from

2) Link Found Between Gut Bacteria And Depression | IFLScience. (n.d.). Retrieved from

3) How Your Gut Affects Your Mood | FiveThirtyEight. (n.d.). Retrieved from

4) The Gut Microbiome, Anxiety and Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved from e

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