A Gut Feeling: Probiotics and Changes in Brain Activity

Give yogurt some more brownie points. It’s been known for some time that one’s gastrointestinal tract functions in essence as one’s “second brain”, lined with hundreds of millions of neurons. In fact, the gut manufactures more dopamine and serotonin, important neurotransmitters that powerfully influence mood and motivation, than does the “head” brain. The accepted view has been that due to the blood-brain barrier, hormones produced in one’s g-i tract can’t travel to the brain. Nevertheless, the gut can generate nerve signals that can communicate with the brain and thereby influence mood.


Lessons From The Happiest Man on Earth

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have dubbed the French-Tibetan monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard “the happiest man in the world”. Over the past decade or so, at the prompting of the Dalai Lama and prominent neuroscientists in the field of neuroplasticity, Ricard has joined numerous other advanced meditation practitioners in research on the effect of mind-training and meditation on the brain. In addition, “novice” meditators have participated in studies requiring the relatively modest time commitment of 30 minutes meditation a day for three months.