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The Link Between Gut and Mood

Friday, February 3rd 2023 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

We talk about gut feelings, which is when our intuition tells us to pay attention. Sometimes we experience butterflies in the stomach in response to wariness about an upcoming situation. Is it all in your head?


There is a connection between your gut and your mood through the actions of your enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS is comprised of millions of neurons in your digestive system, from the esophagus to the intestines. Sometimes called your body’s “second brain,” the ENS communicates with the central nervous system, including your brain, and establishes two-way communication between your gut and gray matter.

In addition, the gut-brain axis is influenced by your gut microbiome, which includes the millions of microorganisms that live in your digestive system. Your gut flora has a direct connection to the brain via the vagus nerve, which supports healthy digestion. The vagus nerve originates in the brain and extends to the gut where it plays a role in digestion and communication.

In addition, approximately 90% of the body’s serotonin, a neurotransmitter widely known to help regulate mood, is produced in the gut. Thus, your brain can influence your gut, and your gut can influence mood, mental health, and cognition.

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