The Gut Brain Axis is the information highway that connects the digestive tract with our brain and our brain with our gut. The importance of this highway cannot be overstated. In this podcast, Dr. Valerie LaRosa explains the different ways that our microbiome can be impacted and the effect it has on brain health, specifically neuro-inflammation. Dr. LaRosa is a naturopathic physician with many years of experience who focuses on seeing kids with disabilities.

It is quite impossible to optimize brain activity in the absence of a diverse and healthy gut microbiome. This Gut Brain Axis drives focus, regulation, attention, moods and behavior. Regardless of whether your child’s diagnosis is Autism, ADHD or Down Syndrome, the primary path is to optimize the microbiome in the gut. The strategies that can affect these changes are simple. They take time, and it is a marathon not a sprint, but the change is slow and sure.

Types of dysfunction

Dr. LaRosa differentiates between two types of microbial dysfunction:

  1. Infection
  2. Dysbiosis

Infection is an attack or colonization by bacteria or viruses that are external to your body. They attack, the immune system responds, and you might get a fever, or a runny nose. This is the inflammation response.

Dysbiosis has to do with balance between the good guys and the bad guys that are already in your child’s gut. For example, Candida. Did you know that we are all expected to have some levels of this “commensal” fungus? But when its growth is unchecked, this can manifest as yeast infections, thrush and so on…

What can you do now to optimize the gut-brain axis?

There are many ways to start optimizing the gut health. But in this podcast, Dr. LaRosa talks about bringing more diversity to the gut bacteria. How do you do this?

  1. Get exposure to non-chemical treated soil, that means: play in the dirt, do gardening, etc.
  2. Eat organic and local produce
  3. Be wary of consuming too many antibiotics. Always double check if antibiotic use is warranted.

Dysbiosis is when the balance between the good guys and the bad guys breaks down in your child’s gut. For example, Candida. Did you know that we are all expected to have some levels of this “commensal” fungus? But when its growth is unchecked, this can manifest as yeast infections, thrush and so on…