Online Courses Products My Library Blog About Us Contact Us Book an Appointment Login

"My Gut Hurts and My Brain Isn't Working!"

Have you ever felt this way? Janine certainly knows what this is like! “I have had chronic digestive issues since I was a little girl. And when things are especially bad I would forget simple words, and forget about remembering names! I am only in my mid-40’s! I can’t fathom what my memory and cognition will be like as I reach my 50’s and 60’s! I used to be really sharp, but now not so much! As my digestive issues have worsened, so has my brain! I also have severe mood swings now that I never used to have. I had my hormones checked and they are fine so it must be related to my digestion! Dr. Tara, can you help me?”

For many years I have noticed this brain and cognition connection in many if not most of my gut health patients.   I would do my usual work of identifying gut pathogens through stool samples and correcting the imbalance with the correct blend of probiotics. Other more mainstream scientists happily are also noticing this connection too!

“Scientists have also gathered evidence that gut bacteria can influence anxiety and depression. Stephen Collins, a gastroenterology researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, has found that strains of two bacteria, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, reduce anxiety-like behavior in mice (scientists don’t call it “anxiety” because you can’t ask a mouse how it’s feeling). Humans also carry strains of these bacteria in their guts. In one study, he and his colleague collected gut bacteria from a strain of mice prone to anxious behavior, and then transplanted these microbes into another strain inclined to be calm. The result: The tranquil animals appeared to become anxious.” From The Atlantic (When Gut Bacteria Changes Brain Function)

Scientists at UCLA also did a study where they had a group of healthy women consume 1 cups of yogurt per day and the yogurt eaters had a calmer reaction to stimulatory images than non-yogurt eaters.

Why and which neurotransmitters are affected has yet to be determined through further scientific research, but I can definitively say that improving gut health will also improve brain health, and worsening gut health drives worsening psychiatric health as well as cognitive functioning

Functional medicine testing can really pinpoint the imbalance so that treatment can be specifically targeted to balance the gut microbiome which helps to insure that the body is producing enough of the right neurotransmitters for improved wellbeing.

Diet also plays a significant role in proper neurotransmitter production. A diet high in refined foods, preservatives, and for many people grains and especially gluten can contribute to brain fog. Dr. David Perlmutter, a reknowned neurologist’s book, Grain Brain, describes the staggering effects of carbs on the brain. Whole grains can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more. This is super great news because this also means that getting certain health symptoms under control can happen through diet modifications rather than prescription medications! The removal of grains from the diet also is very helpful torwards reducing digestive issues such as cramping, bloating, and IBS!

Increased carbohydrate intake, especially grains and gluten, increases the amount of inflammation in the gut lining and the entire body. Increased inflammation also has a very strong effect on neurotransmitter levels.

Inflammation in the gut lining and in the body also correlates to brain inflammation. This can also increase such symptoms as brain fog, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and lack of mental clarity. So one of the first goals of any sort of protocol is to reduce inflammation in the entire body, and improved brain function usually follows suit once inflammation is dealt with.

Exposure to toxic chemicals also contributes to overall inflammation as well as brain fog and changes in neurochemicals. It is therefore important to limit exposure to environmental chemicals in your food and water. And if you live in an area where there is more environmental exposure, making sure your detoxification channels are open and functioning properly is also important!

So… in summary, heal the gut lining, balance the microbiome, make some dietary changes to lower carbs and grain intake, and make sure that you regularly avoid toxic chemicals and detoxify (sweating is the most effective least invasive method) when indicated. Regular physical exercise is very helpful to support detoxification.

Many if not most of my patients that I treat for chronic digestive issues also unwittingly improve their brain function and cognition as a nice useful “side effect” of adopting a healthier lifestyle and correcting any imbalances in the gut that may be occurring. Clarity of thought and emotional balance is a very nice desireable side-effect of living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding toxic exposures!

After working with me for several months, Janine noticed that her brain fog symptoms and cognition gradually improved as did her digestive issues! She was very pleased about this as was I ! We had gotten to the root of her chronic inflammation, her gut health, which was affecting her neurotransmitter balance as a side result. Her overall mood also improved as did chronic anhiness and joint pain.

If you have chronic digestive issues with or without associated brain fog, working with me one on one can really help to improve and restore your health. I offer a FREE 15 minute phone consult to see if we are a good fit for each other and a time when you get to ask me questions about my approach to healing. You can schedule this consult by calling (303) 443-2206 M-F 8:30-5PM Mountain time, or online using this link:

I hope to connect with you soon!


50% Complete

Get the free Ebook here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.