Many issues can contribute to an imbalanced and unhealthy gut. Brain damage can also be caused by various factors, including disease. Research is now showing that one particular exercise, running, can repair cells in the brain and the gut.
Running Toward the Problem
Our gut plays a tremendous part in our overall health. One of the most obvious functions is digestion. Our body takes in food and processes it through our organs. The nutrients we absorb go towards feeding our cells. We want all of our cells to be healthy so that they reproduce healthily.
If we’re feeding our body unnaturally with junk food, processed meats, refined sugars, etc. our digestive system ceases to function optimally. Even when you finally eat a vegetable, your body no longer has the ability to absorb its nutritious benefits. Recalibrating our system by detoxifying and eating properly as a habit will make a huge difference.
Exercise, however, is another essential key player. Exercise helps the body flush toxins and waste. It also helps release toxins through our pores. But another effect of physical movement is that it promotes the diversity of gut bacteria.
Feel it in Your Gut
Our gut is home to many types of good bacteria. The body likes it that way. In fact, the more, the merrier. The balance and plenteousness of good bacteria allows for proper levels of serotonin, melatonin, and hundreds of other hormones necessary for homeostasis. And here’s the kicker—the gut largely informs the brain, and may also affect the brain’s ability to function properly.
Getting in the Game
A recent study observed levels of overall health in rugby players, and specifically, their gut bacteria. The athletes (from running) and exercising often—and with intensity—appeared to have boosted immune systems. The researchers discovered that the players had a “higher diversity of gut micro-organisms.”
Let it Help Your Brain
A completely different study was recently conducted out of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. They discovered that in animal models, running triggered production of a molecule that repairs brain cells. The molecule is called VGF nerve growth factor. It helps repair the insulation coating for nerve fibers.
Some neurodegenerative diseases, like multiple sclerosis, for example, produce overt physical symptoms because nerve insulation is damaged. If VGF, which is triggered by running, can rebuild damaged areas of the brain, this discovery is profound.
VGF is a molecule that offers a similar effect on the brain as does an endorphin. It also has an anti-depressant effect.
What’s more is that during the study, the scientists made other observations about the mice’s health. Those that ran freely on the wheel lived longer than a typical mouse’s lifespan. The mice that ran also acquired a better sense of balance than those that just sat around.
The benefits of exercise are a-plenty. But besides going out for a jog or run to keep your body looking good, it can clearly do wonders inside, too. For more current findings on best health practices, check out other articles here.