Brain Body: Personalized Lifestyle Medicine for the Gut-Brain Axis
Presented by Sara Gottfried, MD
Previously overlooked, we now know that the 100 trillion gut microbes of healthy people influence their well being in substantial ways. Those trillions of bugs vary from one healthy person to another and from one unhealthy person to another. Meanwhile, as practitioners, we are witnessing an epidemic rise in the incidence of inflammatory conditions associated with the gut-brain axis dysfunction, including anxiety, depression, and early memory loss.
Developing research shows these conditions are associated with an imbalance (dysbiosis) in the gut microbiome. There is constant talk between the gut and brain
Some of it travels along the vagus nerve, and some of it travels in the blood, especially via nutrients, hormones, proteins, peptides, and inflammatory messengers like antibodies and cytokines.
The good news is that while abnormal gut microbiota can lead to dysfunction of the brain body and cause brain symptoms like anxiety, depression, brain fog,rising set point, and memory loss, correcting perturbations in gut health is an emerging strategy used as part of a plan to address such symptoms. Currently, the lifetime risk of anxiety is 30 percent, and higher in women, while lifetime risk of depression is approximately 21 to 45 percent for women and 10 to 30 percent for men.
Mainstream medicine taught us that anxiety is a response to perceived threat, whereas depression is a response to perceived harm or loss. For decades, anxiety has been treated with benzodiazepines, in an effort to mask symptoms, and depression with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or a new generation of similar pharmaceuticals and occasionally cognitive behavioral therapy. We were also taught that memory loss and other signs of cognitive decline are an inevitable result of aging.
Turns out that a more accurate characterization is that these conditions are manifestations of a gut/brain axis that is out of homeostasis.There are five key ways that dysbiotic gut flora can promote anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline: by making your gut wall leaky, by manipulating your stress response (and therefore your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal/thyroid/gonadal axes), by disrupting your immune response, by causing chronic inflammation in the body and brain (neuroinflammtion), and by producing harmful peptides and other chemical messengers. In this interactive presentation, I will learn personalized lifestyle medicine strategies for improving intestinal wall integrity—specifically with the use of targeted dietary and lifestyle interventions—including nutrigenomic approaches, “behaviorceuticals” (physical activities that improve mental health), and targeted prebiotics and probiotics.
• Review the normal and abnormal function of the gut-brain axis and how it impacts the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal/thyroid/gonadal (HPATG) axes and default mode network.
• Identify the role of intestinal permeability and the gut microbiome in stress, mood, an overactive HPATG, and central nervous system disorders.
• Review personalized lifestyle medicine strategies for improving intestinal wall integrity with the use of targeted dietary and lifestyle interventions, including nutrigenomic approaches, “behaviorceuticals,” and targeted prebiotics and probiotics.