How Your Gut Talks to Your Brain and Changes Your Mood

There is constant chatter. Here’s how you stay in charge

is a curious fact that antidepressants are a common treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. But why give Prozac to someone with abdominal pain? 

Antidepressants work because the gut and brain are inextricably linked. What happens in the gut does not stay in the gut — it travels to the brain. More than half of all patients with IBS are affected by a mood disorder.

The gut and brain are connected by the vagus nerve, sometimes called the gut-brain axis. The conversation that takes place along this bidirectional superhighway is under the control of the microbiome, the collective name for the trillions of microorganisms coexisting in your bowel.

We’ve known about this gut-brain connection ever since an early, pivotal study found that germ-free mice experience exaggerated physiological reactions to stress that can be reversed when their guts are colonised by healthy bacteria.

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