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Detoxing the Gut-Brain Axis

Posted by Dr. Rob Silverman on Mar 11, 2021 10:45:09 AM

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Your gut health and your brain health are tightly linked—when your gut is on fire, so is your brain. The impact along the gut-brain axis can be felt in the form of low mood, anxiousness brain fog, lack of concentration, short-term memory difficulties, and cognitive challenges.

One way the gut can affect the brain is by disrupting bacterial metabolites' normal production in the gut. Metabolites, or byproducts of normal function, are given off by gut bacteria and are a needed part of the many complex processes that keep your digestive tract working smoothly. The metabolites' level is constantly monitored and assessed by nerve endings in the gut; their status is reported to the brain via the vagus nerve. Bacterial metabolites also enter the circulation and are carried to the brain, where some pass through the blood-brain barrier. Through both pathways, microbial metabolites interact with the brain and influence your cognition, behavior, and feelings.

Get your digestive health on track. See our digestive health protocol.*

Bacterial metabolites include some substances that are very similar to brain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. In fact, your gut contains far more neurotransmitter chemicals than your brain itself. About 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut by enterochromaffin (EC) cells. The process is highly dependent on the presence of some types of gut bacteria, which produce metabolites that stimulate the EC cells to produce serotonin. When the appropriate bacteria levels are low, gut serotonin production may drop; low serotonin is associated with low mood.. Research suggests that rebalancing the gut bacteria to increase serotonin production might help elevate mood.*1

Most gut metabolites are beneficial or at least neutral. However, one particular type of bacterial byproduct that can harm the gut-brain axis if it enters the circulation: LPS, also known as an endotoxin. LPS (lipopolysaccharides) is released from the outer cell walls of gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli and staph and strep bacteria when they are destroyed in the gut. If your gut is healthy and has a good diversity of bacteria types, you don’t have many unfriendly bacteria. Any LPS they produce is kept to a minimum; special enzymes in your intestines can easily neutralize it. However, if your gut bacteria are out of balance or if you have a leaky gut, LPS can escape from the digestive tract and enter the circulation. Your immune system responds strongly to LPS, causing an immune response; elevated LPS from intestinal permeability is noted in aging populations and those with low mood.2

If poor gut health is affecting your brain, following a detox program and improving your diet may help restore better function along the gut-brain axis.3 These supplements support your detox and Immune system pathways and help resolve the underlying barriers to proper gut health.*

Detox Benefits. 

Your liver is your largest detoxifying organ, responsible for removing LPS and other unwanted bacteria released into your system due to an imbalance in the digestive tract. The extra work can strain the liver, letting toxins build up in it and reduce its efficiency. Supporting your liver with extra nutrients can help.* Detox Benefits is a dietary supplement designed to support detoxification functions in your liver, and Detox Benefits come in capsule form for daily dietary supplementation.* The formula promotes detoxification by providing minerals, amino acids, and botanical extracts needed for efficient Phase I (neutralization), Phase II (conjugation), and Phase III (elimination) processes in the liver.*. The formula contains Siliphos Silybin Phytosome, a highly bioavailable version of silymarin, milk thistle's active constituent. In the liver, silymarin has valuable protective effects.*

Clear G.I. 

Irritation in the gastrointestinal tract makes the small intestine wall's tight junctions open too widely, letting large particles of undigested food escape into the circulation. This can lead to gas, bloating, cramps, and abdominal discomfort. Clear G.I. is a dietary supplement designed to help balance, soothe, and replenish the gastrointestinal tract. *The formula includes FOS (fructooligosaccharides), a form of prebiotic soluble fiber that supports beneficial bacteria's growth. * The formula also contains L-glutamine, a key component for maintaining a healthy mucosal lining in the intestines, fueling immune cells, and maintaining the small intestine's villi. *

RELATED CONTENT: THE GUT HEART CONNECTION

G.I. Benefits. The cells that line the villi and microvilli (fingerlike projections that increase surface area) of your small intestine constantly wear out and are replaced. A good supply of zinc is needed to keep the replacement process moving efficiently; too little is associated with increased intestinal permeability.[1] G.I. Benefits contains zinc carnosine, which helps stabilize the gut wall and stimulate gut repair processes.5 The formula also includes botanical extracts that support a strong intestinal wall and promote regularity. *

Brain Benefits. The Brain Benefits supplement provides the essential omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in liquid form. Both DHA and EPA are key for brain health and are particularly supportive for cognitive function and stable mood. * Brain Benefits can help maintain neurological health in the face of disruptions along the gut-brain axis.*

SPM Complete. Despite detoxification, dietary changes, and immune supporting nutritional supplements, lingering challenges may persist along the gut-brain axis. SPM Complete contains specialized pro-resolving mediators derived from omega-3 fatty acids to provide nutrients that support the immune system in completing the final resolution stage.*

Dr. Rob Silverman

Digestive Health


[1] Yano, Jessica M. et al. (2015) Indigenous Bacteria from the Gut Microbiota Regulate Host Serotonin Biosynthesis. Cell, 161 (2). pp. 264-276. ISSN 0092-8674. PMCID PMC4393509

2 Brown GC. The endotoxin hypothesis of neurodegeneration. J Neuroinflammation. 2019;16(1):180. Published 2019 Sep 13. doi:10.1186/s12974-019-1564-7

3 Ahola AJ, Lassenius MI, Forsblom C, Harjutsalo V, Lehto M, Groop PH. Dietary patterns reflecting healthy food choices are associated with lower serum LPS activity. Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 26;7(1):6511. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06885-7. PMID: 28747701; PMCID: PMC5529547

4 Michielan A, D'Incà R. Intestinal Permeability in : Pathogenesis, Clinical Evaluation, and Therapy of Leaky Gut. Mediators Inflamm. 2015;2015:628157. doi:10.1155/2015/628157

5 Mahmood A, FitzGerald AJ, Marchbank T, Ntatsaki E, Murray D, Ghosh S, Playford RJ. Zinc carnosine, a health food supplement that stabilises small bowel integrity and stimulates gut repair processes. Gut. 2007 Feb;56(2):168-75. doi: 10.1136/gut.2006.099929. Epub 2006 Jun 15. PMID: 16777920; PMCID: PMC1856764

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