The Enteric Nervous System is the network of nerves and neurotransmitters within the lining of our digestive system or gut, and it is nearly as large and complex as our Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord). The ENS is directly linked to the CNS; they pass information to each other and coordinate messages to the immune system and hormones/ endocrine system. .
The CNS and ENS make and respond to the same neurotransmitters- serotonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine- and these play an important role in a balanced gut-brain relationship. Several digestive and mental health conditions feature some degree of neurotransmitter dysfunction including:
GERD (reflux disease)
Autism spectrum disorders
It is for these reasons, Dr. Michael Gershon termed the digestive system 'The Second Brain in 1998 and extensive research has gone into finding out the extent of the relationship between human disease and the gut-brain axis since then. More recently, we've discovered that gut bacteria and yeast has the ability to influence the body by having direct communication to the brain from the gut. Intestinal bugs, or flora, have shown they have unique actions connected to behavior, mood, and thinking processes.
How well your gut is working, what is in it (bacterial flora), and what you put in it ABSOLUTELY have a measurable impact on mental health.