(Cont’d from Part 2: My Gut’s Chronically Sensitive, Now What? The gut talk may end up being a 4-Part series. I know, you’re on the edge of your seat, but don’t sue me for intractable butt tattoos.)
Those of you that “follow your gut” en route to good decisions, which part of your gut are you listening to, the gurgle-y sounds or the butterflies? I blame both of these signals for 99% of my social awkwardness. Why doesn’t the “gut brain” divvy up the analysis with the brain upstairs? Instead it seems to suffer from being overly sensitive without making up for it with any bright thoughts. Can we go ahead & call it a childish, immature brain if it is one?
Well, unless this immature brain smartens up & starts telling us what to do, treating it like our upstairs brain seems to be gaining steam. As mentioned earlier in Part 2 , modulating the gut neurotransmitters has gotten pharmaceutical interest. I’ve heard from some chronically ill patients that taking Benzodiazepines such as Klonopin & Restoril (which enhance GABA) don’t only calm overexcited brains but also rowdy guts.
“When a person is injured, the gut sends benzodiazepine to the brain, relieving pain or even causing unconsciousness.” - http://www.wisegeek.com/which-has-more-neurotransmitters-your-gut-or-your-brain.htm
Now you might be wondering how your gut entered a permanent state of nervousness. We’re learning that in many cases, IBS starts with antibiotic usage which messes up our balance of good/bad bacteria and can lead to persistent infection. In this excellent podcast on digestive disorders, Dr. Linda Lee says that uncontrolled gut infection like C Difficile can lead to the immune system going into attack mode & not shutting down. For those with neuroimmune diseases that may have autoimmune components, doesn’t this sound familiar?
“The immune system pours out its toxins to stop this agent, and then the immune system doesn’t calm down,” he said, adding that environmental toxins could also play a role in the illness. – Jay Levy, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/health/research/01fatigue.html?_r=4
Will future treatment for inflammatory GI disorders look a lot like current treatments for mental illness (benzos, SSRIs, etc) and will this be the tipping point of the Zombie Apocalypse? I hope to see research go more in the direction of gut flora modulation. For more on this, go to Part 4: A Taboo Gamechanger for Chronically Sensitive Gut
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