The state of our digestive system, especially the intestines, is of tremendous importance for our own wellbeing. There is a good reason why we talk about our “visceral sense” or our “gut feeling” because our whole gastrointestinal tract is crisscrossed by a complex network of nerves that permanently informs us (our brain) about the state of our digestive system. This complex network of nerves is called “abdominal brain”.
The abdominal brain
The abdominal brain works largely independent of the influence of the brain. Our abdominal brain autonomously regulates intestinal functions, like secretion of digestive juices, absorption of food ingredients, intestinal motility, and gastrointestinal blood flow. The abdominal brain has a strong influence on our mood because it constantly informs our brain about the state of our intestinal system. This is what people “gut feeling”.
“Our abdominal brain is almost independent from our brain.
It is the basis for what we call gut feeling”
The mucosa of our digestive system has its own gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT), which is also called “intestinal immune system”. The function of the GALT is the defence against gut infections. Another important factor in preventing gut infections is the physiologic gut flora. About 70% of all immune cells in the human body reside here.
“70% of all immune cells in the human body reside in the intestinal immune system”
This shows the great importance of the GALT for the whole human immune system.
The human gut is colonised by hundreds of trillions of bacteria. This is as many bacteria as there are cells in the whole human body! Bacteria in our gut flora are of tremendous importance for our digestion. But our intestinal gut bacteria are doing much more than only helping with our digestion, they are also essential for our immune system and our general wellbeing.
“Our intestinal gut bacteria are of tremendous importance
for our digestion. They are also essential for our
immune system and our general wellbeing”
Intestinal gut bacteria are of key importance for our immune system: They regulate the homeostasis of our immune system, can destroy toxins and protect against intestinal infections by pathogens. A well balanced, healthy intestinal gut flora is the basis for a healthy digestion and our general wellbeing. That´s why probiotic gut bacteria can be key for preventing or treating gut flora related health issues.