What if I told you that your belly exercises a great deal of control over your brain?
Now before you dismiss this possibility, and close your mind to the prospect of learning something remarkable, ask yourself if you have ever felt butterflies in your stomach, saw something so disturbing it made you feel sick to your stomach, or experienced a gut feeling about something? What about when you are hungry, has it ever made you feel moody?
Our bellies and brains are actually physically and biochemically connected in a multitude of ways, which means the state of our intestines can literally change the way our brains work and behave. In fact, approximately 90% of serotonin (which regulates our mood) is actually produced in our belly, and only 10% in the brain.
As a nutritionist, microbiologist, and neuroscientist, Ruairi Robertson of Harvard University is passionate about the link between our bellies and brains, which scientists have yet to fully grasp. He became especially interested in this relationship after learning about a study where mice completely lost their instinctual fear of cats, simply because of ingesting a microbe Toxoplasma gondii. Interestingly, even after it was removed from the body their behavior continued, which suggests it changes the structure of the brain.
His research is examining how our intestines and the microbes within them can influence both physical and mental health, and most importantly how our diets influence this relationship. You can listen to his incredible TEDx talk below;