Your belly is clever
Science has just begun to research the “gut brain.” Gut brain?
Actually, our digestive tracts, with several million nerve cells, influence our behavior and our moods.
Irritable bowel syndrome and depression often appear together. The intellect resides in the head, intuition in the gut, and the two work closely together to regulate our decisions, actions, and moods.
Some scientists have gone further and started to involve intestinal bacteria in these considerations. After all, almost ten times more microorganisms live in the intestine than there are cells in the human body!
As part of our bodies, they take their cue from the foods we eat to influence our feelings and thoughts. While we assign intellectual capabilities to the “head brain,” our “gut brain” is responsible for emotions.
Joy flutters in the gut, like butterflies, but grief and fear can also accumulate there like a sack of stones.
Giulia Enders provides an impressive example of this in her book Darm mit Charm [The charming large intestine]. Working with two groups of lab mice, one demonstrating bold and the other fearful behavior, researchers exchanged intestinal flora between the two groups. The behavior of the mice changed dramatically: after receiving the flora of the bolder mice, the formerly fearful mice became braver, and vice versa.
Who knows what spectacular findings science may come to in the future, but each one of us has had, at least once, the experience of our gut telling us something different than our heads. And that the signal coming from our gut wasn’t the dumber one.