If you have ever experienced butterflies in your stomach before an important job interview or giving a big presentation, then you have experienced the brain-gut connection. But what exactly is this connection? let's head to Vagus to find out.
Far from the flashing lights and casinos, our Vagus nerve is all about shuttling information between our gut and our brain. It operates like an information highway sending and receiving signals in both directions.
The Vagus nerve is connected to the millions of nerve cells lining our gut. These nerve cells sense what is happening inside our gut and send that information back to our brain. In this way our gut functions like our second brain. Any disturbances in the gut will be sent to the brain and vice versa. So, if you're feeling stressed don't be surprised if you start sensing some changes in your gut.
The bacteria that live in our intestine have a major influence on the information that is shuttled along our gut-brain axis.1 These microbes produce the same neurotransmitters that our brain uses to regulate our mood and cognition like serotonin, dopamine, GABA and acetylcholine. In fact 95% of the body's serotonin is produced in the gut.
This means that the balance of microbes in our gut can have a big impact in regulating how we are feeling.
Stress and the gut-brain axis
Persistent stress can cause things to go haywire in our gut. The hormones we release when we are stressed can promote inflammation, over-activation of our immune system and gut-flora imbalances (dysbiosis). When inflammation from your gut reaches your brain, it can create imbalances in the neurotransmitters involved in regulating mood and sleep. 
Supporting our gut brain axis
How do we support this line of communication between out gut and brain?
Having a well-balanced microbial community in your intestines is the key to your health.
The rise of psychobiotics
Psychobiotics are the term for probiotics that have a positive effect on how we think and feel. Far from turning you into a 'psycho', studies are showing that these probiotic-based treatments may decrease stress hormones and improve mood and memory.6
The majority of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains that have been studied for mental health have shown beneficial effects. A large review of 71 studies on probiotics and mental health, found that all of the probiotics included in the research demonstrated a positive effect on mood. The most commonly used species were Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casaei and Bifidobacterium bifidium.
Another vital connection to your mood and energy levels are your mitochondria!
Mitochondria are the tiny energy generating factories inside our cells. They work like a rechargeable battery for our cells providing energy when they need it.
Our nervous system requires a constant supply of energy with our brain alone using up 20% of the energy our mitochondria make each day. Any damage to the mitochondria within our nervous system may cause an imbalance in our neurotransmitters which could affect our mood.
Mitochondria provide the energy for our muscles to function during exercise. However, if they become dysfunctional, they produce less energy and more oxidative stress which can trigger muscle weakness and fatigue.
As we get older our mitochondria decrease in size and number, this is a major driver of ageing.
Feeding your mitochondria
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) acts like a spark in the cell that ignites our energy production. It is vital during the final stages of cellular energy production in the electron transport chain. CoQ10 is found in the highest concentrations in the cells that need the most energy like the heart, liver, kidneys and skeletal muscles.11 It supports the high energy demands of our brain, heart and working muscles.
CoQ10 is also a fat-soluble antioxidant that can protect our cells from the free radicals generated during energy production.11 In our nervous system CoQ10 protects against the free radical damage and inflammation that may affect our mood.  Reduced levels of CoQ10 can affect our mitochondrial function and in turn our mental wellbeing.
As we age, our natural production of CoQ10 declines.11 Additionally, if we are stressed, or lead an inactive lifestyle it will further deplete our stores.
Cholesterol lowering medications (statins) inhibit your body's CoQ10 production and current research suggests that CoQ10 is a good option if you are taking statins.11  In older adults, CoQ10 is great for maintaining a healthy heart and vascular system.11
Magnesium Orotate is a well absorbed form of magnesium without any of the laxative side effects. Orotic acid helps to transport magnesium across cell membranes and into our cells where it’s needed.  This is a winning combination to rejuvenate our 'tired' cells.
Orotic acid can help maintain cellular energy through the production of ribose-5-phosphate and Uridine. Orotic acid is protective for the heart especially during high intensity exercise. In a trial done with competitive triathletes, magnesium orotate given for 4 weeks significantly improved swimming times and reduced cortisol levels.
Orotic acid may also support memory through the production of uridine. Uridine is used to create phosphatidylcholine, which is further converted into acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential for memory, attention and mental performance.  
Magnesium activates important enzymes involved in energy metabolism. It is involved in metabolizing glucose (sugar) into energy, restoring ATP to depleted muscles, and regulating our stress hormones. This means it an ideal nutrient for supporting our busy, active and sometimes stressful lifestyles.25 
The next time you get a 'gut-feeling' about something you will know that is because our gut is literally our second brain. It’s essential to support your gut-brain axis and gut flora to balance your mind and body. Take care of your microbiome and it will take care of you!
Probiotics, Coenzyme Co10, and Magnesium orotate are all impressive nutrients that support your mood, and energy levels. And...If you're falling asleep on the way to work, you might just need some CoQ10 and magnesium orotate to recharge your body and mind to help you to power through your day.
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