Gut Feelings–the "Second Brain" in Our Gastrointestinal Systems

There is a superhighway between the brain and GI system that holds great sway over humans


A primal connection exists between our brain and our gut. We often talk about a “gut feeling” when we meet someone for the first time. We’re told to “trust our gut instinct” when making a difficult decision or that it’s “gut check time” when faced with a situation that tests our nerve and determination. This mind-gut connection is not just metaphorical. Our brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback about how hungry we are, whether or not we’re experiencing stress, or if we’ve ingested a disease-causing microbe. This information superhighway is called the brain-gut axis and it provides constant updates on the state of affairs at your two ends.

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From The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood and Your Long-Term Health, by Justin Sonnenburg and Erica Sonnenburg, PhDs. Reprinted by arrangement with Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), LLC, a Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Justin Sonnenburg and Erica Sonnenburg, 2015.

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