Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet (SOKHOP) is at the forefront of a new movement focused on sustainable living practices and safe and effective methods for preventing and recovering our children from ADHD, Autism, Allergies, Asthma, Obesity, Diabetes etc

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Typically, gut specialists (gastroenterologists) and the brain docs (psychiatrists) do not function under the premise that their specialties are in any way related.  However, new understandings have emerged which show a wonderfully interwoven, codependent relationship between what goes on in the gut and how well the brain functions.  The relationship is so profound, that I and many practitioners in the integrative, functional medicine community often refer to the famous quote by Hippocrates “all disease begins in the gut” when explaining why the search for the root cause of either a mental or physical ailment should begin there.   

 Let’s explore what these interconnections are between a variety of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, autism, etc. and gut issues such as imbalanced gut flora, inflammation, poor absorption of nutrients, leaky gut syndrome & food sensitivities.   

 

The Gut IS the Second Brain:  In the mid 1990’s, I learned from Dr. Michael Gershon, MD (professor of anatomy and cell biology at New York’s Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and author of the book The Second Brain) that the greatest  concentration of the mood-stabilizing neurotransmitter Serotonin is located in the gut.  That was my first clue to understanding the idea that if the intestines are not functioning optimally, the brain can’t be expected to do so.  Then Dr. Gershon helped me realize that we actually have two nervous systems: our central nervous system composed of our brain and spinal cord, and the enteric nervous system which is the intrinsic nervous system of the GI tract, and both are created from identical tissue during our fetal development.  If that wasn’t enough to convince me that the gut was truly our “second brain”, once I learned that the Vagus nerve (which runs from the brain stem to the abdomen connecting these two organs) is the primary route our gut bacteria uses to transmit information to the brain, I was sold on just how essential it is to focus on gut health by populating it with good bacterial flora if we are to prevent or help recover individuals from both physical and mental disorders.  [click to continue…]

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