Understanding The Gut Brain Connection, The Role Of Serotonin
When a patient experiences depression, loss of pleasure in life, internal anger, and or unable to fall into a restful deep sleep, sometimes that is due to a decreased firing of a part of the brain called the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe has receptor sites for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is predominantly produced in the gut. Yes, they are called enterochromaffin cells.
Enterochromaffin-like cells or ECL cells are a type of neuroendocrine cell found in the gastric glands of the gastric mucosa beneath the epithelium, in particular in the vicinity of parietal cells, located in the gut, that aid in the production of gastric acid via the release of histamine. So if you eat foods you are sensitive to, it could alter your serotonin production in your gut and send out a histamine response throughout your digestive tract. Remember, the gut has no pain fibers, so the only way the gut is able to tell you that something is not right is to expand or swell. Often patients complain of being bloated after eating certain foods; this is a histamine response by the gut to say, “This food does not agree with me!”
These ECL cells affect gut motility, enteric (gut) neuron development, and modulating immunity. Yes, your gut health aids in controlling your immunity. Your spinal cord also helps to upregulate our immunity; this is why a chiropractic adjustment, when you are sick is a good idea, because it helps to upregulate your immune function and fight off bugs.
So what are the action steps a patient can take? If you know that you have some of the identified symptoms above, it is suggested to get good sources of B6, Magnesium, Methylated B12, and folic acid into your diet. It is recommended to refer to your most recent blood work taken to determine your nutritional deficiencies before supplementing. It is also suggested to ensure you are getting adequate sources of iron into your diet; iron is needed to produce serotonin. If you know you are anemic, you might want to also get tested for low neurotransmitter activity, in particular serotonin levels.
The Great Plains Laboratory Organics Lab Testing is the best functional test to determine your neurotransmitter deficiencies. For food sensitivities that might be causing poor serotonin absorption, Cyrex Labs offers the most comprehensive food sensitivity panel. Yes, a food that appears to be “healthy” for you, might not work well with your genetic profile, making your gut dysfunctional.