Humans have two brains, and they're both important
University of Newcastle researcher Dr Vincent Candrawinata has confirmed that humans have two brains, both of which play a critical role in our body's overall function, wellbeing and behaviour.
"It sounds strange to say. However, it is absolutely true. The human body has two brains, but not two brains as we know them," Dr Candrawinata said.
"Our brain in our head is responsible for our thinking and processing. It is essentially a command centre for our nervous system. It receives signals from our body's sensory organs and, in response, sends information to the muscles, creating feeling and movement.
"Our second brain is located in our tummy, or to be more specific, in our digestive system. Our stomach contains certain elements of our nervous system which include chemicals that influence our mood.
"This nervous system operates independent of our brain and, as a result, is more or less a legitimate second brain. It controls our whole digestive system and, not known to many, our entire body system, including our mental condition."
We have all heard the term "intuition" and it makes one wonder why we call it "gut feeling", he continued.
"We often get a feeling in our gut that someone is wrong. If we are nervous, we experience butterflies in our tummy, or if we are stressed or worried, we experience diarrhea or nausea. Our second brain sends signals to our head brain to let it know we are not OK. As a result, we might get dizzy, get a headache or even worse, pass out," he said.
"Many neurological issues are identified due to problems with digestive health. In fact, many researchers believe that an unhealthy digestive system causes many neurological and mental health issues."
Studies show a connection between mental health issues and low levels of healthy bacteria in the gut, Dr Candrawinata said.
The key is to ensure we are taking good care of our second brain, he added.
"We need to ensure we are supporting our digestive health through diet, sleep, exercise and supporting supplements."
He said there are some key things we should do:
1. Drink more water and eat more fibre.
2. Eat more fermented foods like yoghurt and sauerkraut. Good bacteria grow during the fermentation process.
3. Avoid unnecessary antibiotic use.
4. Reduce consumption of inflammatory foods, i.e. anything fried, processed, red meat, etc.
5. Support gut health by taking antioxidants every day.
"Antioxidant intake directly impacts our neurological health, including reducing the risks of developing diseases such as Alzheimer's," he concluded.
"By improving our digestive health, we are being good to our second brain. If our second brain is happy and healthy, we are less likely to suffer from illness or other health issues including mental health and neurological issues."
“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain