Brain Injury and Gut Health: What is the Connection?

Posted on July 14, 2022

A concussion or traumatic brain injury means the gut-brain connections' future health may be at risk. This is a complication seen in many patients. Over the past few years, studies also have linked the gut-brain axis to anxiety, autism, depression, and various autoimmune conditions. 

After a traumatic brain injury, it is vital to understand how our future cognitive health connects with our gut pathology. This might be important in preventing or slowing the risk of future cognitive decline.

Studies show that traumatic brain injury patients could be prone to long-term intestinal dysfunction. The gut damage leaves patients vulnerable to increased risk of infections, excess gut bacteria, and continuing inflammation.  

Unfortunately, some traumatic brain injury survivors' may also have an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Lowering our risk of intestinal permeability and reducing inflammation in the body after a brain injury can be as simple as altering our diet.

Although scientific studies regarding the gut-brain connection have been going on for years, advanced research on the human microbiome continues in several independent research centres and major universities. 

A leading focus in global health conferences is the topic of the gut-brain connections' influence on health. It has rapidly made its way into significant headlines throughout many countries. 

In the past few years, the topic of healing the gut-brain connection has become a bridge between traditional medicine and functional health physicians'. A consistent approach to further understanding the body's ability to fight disease, cognitive decline, and injury could improve longevity and healing for a majority of patients worldwide.

At-risk patients could significantly improve brain health if they understand how essential diet changes can fight inflammation and heal intestinal health. Learning the importance of taming our gut health should be the distress call everyone must pay heed to.

Diet changes can be a trial and error game. In some cases of mild cognitive impairment, diet and exercise changes may prevent further cognitive decline. Our blood sugar levels have a direct influence on how our brain functions. Adverse complications can occur when we eat excessive amounts of glucose from processed foods, sugar, or high glycemic carbohydrates. Even though our brain needs glucose, cutting unhealthy carbohydrates and sugar from our diet can be the healthiest place to start.

Maintaining a detailed food diary would help remind us of our body's reaction to certain foods. The noting down habit can also help us note improvements in our gut, brain, and overall physical health. Once we remove any upsetting foods from our diet, carb and sugar cravings are typically short-term.

With all the medications, supplements, various diets, and treatment options to restore our gut health can confuse patients, especially those who have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. 

Finding the best treatment might take a lot of patience and perseverance. Just like no two brain injuries are alike, neither is the microbiome in our gut. Our gut health is of primary importance in creating a balanced intestinal environment.

Working with the right doctor, knowledgeable about the gut-brain connection and individual patient risk factors, will help us achieve our health goals.