Butterflies in the Second Brain?

Did you feel those butterflies playing in your stomach in some unexpected situation?
Yes, we all have this experience.

It’s our “second brain” or “the brain in our gut”.

The second brain doesn’t help with thought or decision making processes like singing, dreaming nor about customs, religions… These are all done by our brain inside the skull.

But, it plays a great role in regulating mood. The entire digestive tract is lined by a network of neurons. These neurons coordinate to generate the muscle contractions that propel waste out of the colon. It also causes the sensation of nervousness in the stomach in a stressed or excited situation, where most of the cells get involved to carry information to the brain and thereby influencing the gut to produce responses.

The most interesting part is, not only neural network but a whole ecosystem of bacteria and yeast resides in our gut. Their number may be more than the number of cells a complete human is made up of. There is no danger in having them, but losing them is a danger. These microorganisms have evolved with us, since birth. They communicate with each other and with the enteric nervous system which helps us to digest the food, fight diseases and keep us healthy.

Frequent usage of antibiotics and eating junk foods can decrease the number of bacteria present in our gut. So, one should consult a doctor before taking antibiotics repeatedly. Doctors even prescribe for prebiotics after the repeated doses of antibiotics. The reason is that prebiotics are compounds present in food that nourishes and promotes the growth and activity of these beneficial microorganisms.

So, take care of your health and make sure your friendly microorganisms are with you because just a stomach ache can really sour your day.

Article by Moumita Mazumdar

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