Dr. Uday Jani, MD, FACP, will present The Inside View: Understanding How Microbiome and Gut Health Impacts Our Brain from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Lewes Public Library, and from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 16, at Milton Public Library. He will explore the vital connection between brain health and the microorganisms that are continually forming in the intestine. Attendees will learn how incorporating more probiotics, the beneficial bacteria, into their diets can help them better handle stress, improve mood, and allay anxiety and depression.
"In the past few years, there has been an incredible amount of research on the microbiome and how microorganisms affect every system of the body," said Jani. "This has resulted in a new understanding of the importance of healthy gut bacteria and how we can promote its growth using powerful, natural methods."
The microbiome, he explains, are the 100 trillion tiny organisms that live on people’s skin and gums and in their guts. In terms of sheer numbers of cells, the microbial cells in human bodies outnumber the human cells by up to 10 to 1 – each person carries about 20,000 human genes, but up to 20 million microbial genes. "Although genetically speaking, we're 99 percent microbial, it is only recently that these organisms have been studied in depth, with particular focus on the important link to brain function," said Jani.
"We've always been aware of the symbolic connection of gut to emotions – consider how we are told not to ignore our 'gut instinct' when making an important decision, or how we experience 'gut-wrenching' feelings. Now, there's tangible proof to support the physiological truth behind these popular metaphors," he added.
The brain and gut are intimately connected by the vagus nerve, which plays a prominent role in activating the nervous system. Gut bacteria sends signals to the brain, alerting it to changes via the endocrine and immune systems which then can influence memory, mood and cognition. Dietary patterns modify microbiome composition and function in complex ways that vary among individuals. Prebiotics, probiotics and fermented foods may influence the impact of the gut microbiome on the central nervous system and on brain function in a number of experimental trials and clinical studies.
"A healthy microbiome, with a heavy population of beneficial bacteria, allows for optimal nutrient absorption, immune function and reduced risk of disease, and may have a significant effect on memory, stress, anxiety and depression," said Jani.
New evidence also indicates that gut bacteria alter the way people store fat, how they balance levels of glucose in the blood, and how they respond to hormones that make them feel hungry or full. For that reason, Jani recommends a diet that includes fibrous foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts; prebiotic-rich food such as oats, flaxseed, onions, bananas and greens; and probiotic-filled foods such as yogurt, kefir, cheese and fermented foods like kombucha.
Registration is required. To register, go to https://gut-health.eventbrite.com.