This Is Why Your Gut Is Referred to as Your Second Brain

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Photo: Courtesy of @MongeQuentin

For a very long time, Western science believed that the principal center of command for the human body was the brain. It was believed to be widely responsible for activating specific responses, delivering messages to the rest of the body, and possibly developing specific diseases, especially when it came to mental health. In basic terms, a lot of our identity was thought to be related to our brain’s unique chemistry.

As scientific research progressed, and although the brain remains a major part of our emotional and overall wellness, another organ started presenting itself as being of important influence on our overall health: our digestive system (a.k.a the gut).

For example, evidence suggests that 90 percent of our “feel good” hormones (like serotonin, endorphins, or dopamine) are produced by the gut, while only 10 percent emanate from our brain. This implies that much of our emotional and physical health is, in fact, rooted in a healthy gut. 

It means that anxiety and depression are not only rooted in our brain’s chemistry. 

In fact, our gut is made up of a 100 million neurons (which is actually more than our own spinal cord or peripheral nervous system) and 100 trillion bacteria (good and bad), living in a delicate balance.

Moreover, our gut and brain communicate in a two-way manner, and researchers recognize now that there is more communication coming from our gut to our brain than the opposite. 

Concretely, what does this mean? 

It means that our thoughts, feelings, and emotions impact the way we digest and metabolize food.

It means that nurturing a better balance for our gut can not only influence digestion but also our ability to think, feel, and thrive.

It means that anxiety and depression are not only rooted in our brain’s chemistry. 

It means that our eating and emotional challenges are unlikely to stem from a personal lack of willpower and motivation.

It means that nutrition can have a much wider impact on our overall wellbeing.

And it also means that stress (whether it comes from a threat that’s real or only perceived) can wreak havoc on our psyche, through its devastating effect on gut health.

If you want to know more about the gut-brain connection and how to nurture physical and emotional wellbeing through better gut health, please join our Flourish Workshop on Sunday, November 17th at Raw Coffee, in Dubai.

Dr. Aarti Javeri is a GP at Northwest Clinic in Dubai. She specializes in Diabetes, Weight Management, Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine. She is also the founder of Sustain HealthFlorence Gillet is an Eating Psychology Coach, a ‘Health At Every Size’ practitioner and the founder of