What is the Gut Brain? - Dr. Connie Jeon

Last week we talked about osteoporosis and the myths surrounding it.  We clarified that osteoporosis is not a bone disease, but a collagen disease.

We also discussed the importance of exercise, vitamin D, antioxidants and nutrient absorption in preventing osteoporosis.

Today, I want to talk more about our gut and how it affects everything from attention deficit, foggy brain, immune symptoms, and fatigue.

I can’t emphasize the importance of gut health enough.  It’s the most important part of our body that we can easily influence with our behavior.  

Most of you know I’ve lived and thrived with Lupus.  And I also have a son who struggles with focus.  

While I can manage with my diet, it’s hard managing my son’s diet.  My weakness with him is that he’s a finicky eater AND is below 5 th percentile in both height and weight. 

When he was 5, I got him on gluten free diet, and he was doing better, but the results weren’t fast enough for me.  This was largely due to nasal congestion.  

So my strategy with him over the years became feed him anything so that he can grow.  

But recently, I realized that I became complacent with his eating habits.  As I talk to you today about changing my son’s diet, I know most of the moms listening understand the challenges with this.  

I tell you this because I will force my son to watch this as well so that he can understand “why” to stay away from those “junk” foods that he’s grown to love.

According to the statistics by the CDC, there is a surge in immune mediated diseases including asthma, Crohn’s disease, autism, and multiple sclerosis.  

So we must ask the question, why?

It’s the yin and yang between our tolerance and immune response leading to disease.  

Few factors that contribute to the disease are:  

  1. increased gut permeability (leaky gut)
  2. our genes, 
  3. environment
  4. microbiome
  5. immune response

So I consider the gut permeability to be the most important factor in leading to disease.  Here’s why…

(Refer to the graphic attached…)

Have you ever had a “gut feeling” when making a decision or had butterflies in the stomach when nervous?  

Well, you’re getting information from your second brain, your gut.  You see, hidden in the walls of the digestive system, the concept of gut brain is revolutionizing our understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.  

Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). And it’s not so little. The ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from your mouth to your rectum.

But unlike the brain in your skull, the gut brain can’t balance your checkbook or compose a love letter.  

It’s main role is in digestion and swallowing of the foods which  involve release of enzymes to break down food to increase blood flow to the gut which collectively  help to  absorb and eliminate.  

While our gut brain is not capable of thought, it does communicate with our brain to alter our mood, metabolism, immune response, and our health.  

So back to the point of this vlog, take good care of your gut.


  1. Eat real foods:  Foods that support our gut such as vegetables, whole wheat grains, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish, and seafood.
  2. Drink water:  You should drink 1/2 of your body weight in pounds in ozs.  It’s because it’ll help your gut to function at optimal capacity.  It’s important to stay away from sweetened beverages like sweetened tea, soft drinks and juices.  Water with lemon slices is best.
  3. Meditate:  Meditation is proven to calm your nerves and reset your nervous system to help your body stay healthy.  Just 5 minutes a day and then you can increase as you see fit.
  4. Exercise:  Exercise releases endorphin, the feel good neurotransmitter and it also helps to digest your food and help support the gut lining.
  5. Breathe, it’ll calm you and bring you back to your body.  Too often, we are crazed with so many thoughts floating in our head that we ignore our “gut” feelings.  It’ll help you to focus on what’s important here and now.  

So I want to end this episode with the commitment to slowly change what I can control with my son’s diet.   I know I can’t change all of it, but taking mini steps to alter his diet with him on board I feel is key.

Thanks for joining me again today.

See you next week.

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