Home 9News 9Gut-brain axis: relationship between intestinal flora and nervous system

The intestine can be considered the second brain.

Our digestive tract is home to some 100,000 billion bacteria. This set constitutes our intestinal flora called microbiota and lives in harmony (symbiosis) with our body.

Its role is not limited to digestive or immune functions, but also nervous ones. Indeed, the bacteria of the intestine and the brain interact in both directions by transmitting information via the SNE (Enteric Nervous System). This is called the gut-brain axis.

Flora ou microbiota?

They are two expressions for the same thing. “Flore” is commonly used in French when the Anglo-Saxons prefer the term “microbiota” (the content) which designates the set of microorganisms living in a “microbiome” (the container).

Microbiota and health

It is now accepted that the microbiota plays a role in well-being and health.  The list of microbiota disruptors is wide: a diet low in fiber, vitamins and trace elements, but rich in refined foods, various pollutants; alcohol and tobacco; everyday tensions causing stress; hormonal changes; bacterial infections; taking medication; excessive sporting activity… They will trigger an imbalance: some members of the microbiota will find themselves in insufficient numbers and others will see their population increase until they become pathogenic, we speak of dysbiosis.

Mood and behavioral disorders

This imbalance of the microbiota is found systematically in certain diseases and in particular in mood and behavioral disorders. The food intake of selected lactic ferments (microbiotics) is able to restore the intestinal ecosystem, in order to better preserve our neuro-health capital.

Some of them produce GABA, one of the main neuromediators, which is involved in cerebral well-being and Serotonin: This is the concept of “psychobiotics”.