Butterflies in your stomach and the gut-brain connect
by Isha Singh Sawhney
What do butterflies in your stomach really mean?
When did we start giving these cute winged weightless creatures so much weight?
These proverbial butterflies that start beating a staccato rhythm in the stomach, when faced with danger, like a high stakes first date or a particularly nervy presentation, are actually flight or fight signals your body is sending to you after your brain has altered your body (hello adrenal!) that there’s something to worry about out there.
Adrenalin pumped through into your muscles and blood stream, causes a rapid heart rate, and blood to flow rapidly to your brain and lungs (in case you need to, well make a mad dash or stay and fight), and that reduces the blood in your stomach, causing, you guessed it, that butterfly like feeling.
The gut-brain axis has become an important point of conversation in research around the disease. Our gut and brain are in constant contact with each other. Science is now confirming the benefits of fermentation in gut health and centuries-old wisdom passed down as proof of its success by our ancestors.
Around 100 billion neurons (the little guys that tell your body how to behave) in your brain are in touch with 500 million of its siblings in your gut. Of these, the Vagus Nerve that runs between the brain and the gut is the most important. When this nerve is not functioning at an optimum, we see increased instances of IBS and Crohn's disease, that are just at the top of a number of other lifestyle diseases.
The other important connection is between neurotransmitters produced in our brain and gut that control emotions and feelings. These include (our favourite) serotonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine and (hey) dopamine.
These neurotransmitters regulate and control not only blood flow, but also effect gut motility, nutrient absorption, gastrointestinal innate immune system, and the microbiome. Take care of your gut (and beyond) with kombucha, probiotics, a bit of movement and breath work, and a good, balanced diet.
Eat the rainbow, feel the rainbow, be the rainbow 🌈