A team of researchers at the University of Cambridge discovered that immunoglobulin A (IgA) cells that scientists previously thought were only in the gut are also in the brain. These cells must originate in the gut first before traveling to the brain, and they then work as a protective barrier against germs in both the gut and the brain. IgA cells defend the central nervous system from pathogens and are always in a ready state to protect the brain. Disruptions to the gut microbiome, such as from antibiotics or a new diet, can decrease the number of IgA cells in the brain leaving it unprotected.
This research on IgA cells adds to a growing body of literature on the importance of the “mind-gut connection.” Studies at Harvard have examined the interconnected nature of the brain and gastrointestinal system, illuminating how emotions like anxiety can create problems in the gut and how issues in the gut can lead to negative emotions. These studies call for a shift in the treatment of GI disorders by including the role of emotions and stress to provide a holistic treatment. Also, researchers at UCLA have found evidence that the incorporation of mindfulness and acceptance in a mind/body treatment led to an overall decrease in the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
At the nCenter, we offer psychotherapy, nutritional counseling and neurofeedback to holistically consider each individual’s unique circumstances and health. In essence, we believe there is no separation between your mental and physical health, and our team approach aims to connect these so that you are, in all ways, healthier.
Karalee Kothe, nCenter neurofeedback technician