Do you ever feel like your brain is low on cell phone bars?
People often describe it as brain fog or the inability to think clearly.
I often hear phrases like … “it’s like my brain feels staticky” or “it feels like my brain is not firing on all cylinders.”
If this is you, you are not alone. So many of us have accepted it as the norm.
The fogginess, the fatigue, the forgetfulness, the feelings of anxiousness, the digestive distress, the food intolerances, the tired but wired as soon as your head hits the pillow.
Most of us attribute it to not eating right, not sleeping well or stress. While those factors are definitely important to consider, we are now learning there is more to the story. Much more.
HINT: Optimal mental clarity and stamina begins in the 2nd Brain, the GUT!
In this episode I am going to share with you why you are feeling this way and what you can do about it together with one of the world’s leading experts on the gut microbiome, the gut brain connection and cortisol/stress response, Dr. Shawn.
So what exactly is causing you to feel this way? Measurable factors in your biochemistry like:
Imbalances in your gut bacteria & gut permeability (leaky gut): When bad gut bacteria starts to crowd out good bacteria, that’s when you start to encounter problems. The technical term for it is dysbiosis. The first signs of it are digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, increased sugar and processed food cravings and a metabolism that’s functioning at a snail’s pace. Sound familiar? Dysbiosis can often lead to gut permeability (leaky gut) which is when the food intolerances and autoimmune responses start to rear their ugly heads.
Neurotransmitter imbalances: Did you know that 60-90% of your neurotransmitters are produced in your gut? In a healthy, diverse and balanced gut microbiome that is. And then communicated 90% one way from your gut to your brain? These are the neurotransmitters responsible for: mood (serotonin), motivation (dopamine), concentration and focus (norepinephrine), relaxation and sleep (GABA). When I finally stopped to understand this I truly felt like it was the epiphany I was searching for within my own health puzzle. When your gut is out of balance the production and communication of neurotransmitters is greatly impaired – which is why you feel like your brain is low on cell phone bars. Makes total sense now right?
High inflammation levels: Inflammation occurs when your immune system response is low. And guess what? A healthy and robust immune system begins in the gut. When the gut becomes permeable or “leaky” it triggers all sort of inflammation responses and that’s when we start experiencing over or underactive immune system issues.
What can you do about it? I always recommend that my clients follow the 5R Framework for Gut-Brain Connection Restoration:
Remove: do a targeted intervention to get the bad gut bacteria to die off by following a grain free, vegan eating plan for 3 days.
Replace: add back things like digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and bile acids that are required for proper digestion and that may be compromised by diet, medications, stress, environmental factors, or other factors. This is will help improve digestion and your body’s ability to break down and absorb nutrients from food.
Reinoculate: help beneficial bacteria flourish by ingesting probiotic foods or supplements that contain the “good” GI bacteria and by consuming the high soluble fiber foods that good bugs like to eat, called prebiotics. Phytobiotics are also important to include in your diet to protect the good bacteria once it’s there.
Repair: Help the lining of the GI tract repair itself by supplying key nutrients that can often be in short supply in a compromised gut, such as zinc, alpha and beta glucans, antioxidants (e.g. vitamins A, C, and E), fish oil, and the amino acid glutamine.
Rebalance: It is important to pay attention to lifestyle choices. Sleep, exercise, and stress can all affect the GI tract. Balancing those activities is important to an optimal digestive tract. Start to incorporate meditation if you haven't already and make sleep a priority. New to meditation? Start HERE with Tara Brach’s guided meditations for beginners.