The gut microbiome is “the second brain” in the body as it helps regulate homeostasis and metabolize the immune system for functionality and to keep the body in motion. The brain is part of the nervous system, providing neuron signals constantly traveling all over the body. The brain and the gut have a communication partnership where they send information back and forth for the body to function normally. When the body gets injured, either the brain, the gut, or both can be affected, causing dysfunction and unwanted symptoms that can cause other issues to affect the other systems in the body. One of these injuries can affect the brain in a traumatic way, which can disturb the signaling to the gut microbiota and affect an individual’s quality of life. Today’s article looks at a traumatic brain injury known as a concussion, its symptoms, and how it affects the gut-brain axis in the body. Refer patients to certified, skilled providers specializing in gut treatments for individuals that suffered from concussions. We guide our patients by referring to our associated medical providers based on their examination when it’s appropriate. We find that education is critical for asking insightful questions to our providers. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
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Have you been headaches that pop out of nowhere and affect you daily? Have you been experiencing leaky gut or other gut disorder issues causing problems? Do you have trouble concentrating on the simple tasks at hand? Many of these symptoms are signs that you might be suffering from a concussion. Research studies have defined a concussion as a transient disturbance that traumatically induces brain function in the body. Concussions can vary depending on the severity of the injury. When a person suffers from a concussion, the neurotransmitters get disrupted as the brain’s electrolytes go through neurological dysfunction, and blood glucose metabolism decreases cerebral blood flow. Other research studies have found that a concussion does an axial rotation to the brain, which results in the brain jiggling and causes whiplash to the neck. This disruption will cause a biochemical injury that either alters the blood glucose metabolism or can cause derangement of the adenine nucleotides of the nervous system.
Research studies have found that when a person suffers from a concussion, the symptoms in its acute phase can drastically change and evolve into a chronic situation over time. Concussions usually occur in individuals that play a contact sport, where they bump each other in the heads, auto accidents that causes severe injuries that affect the neck and brain, or even a simple blow to the head. Other research studies have stated that the symptoms of a concussion can include:
Additional research studies have mentioned that neuronal dysfunction can occur when a person suffers from a concussion as there are ionic shifts, impaired connectivity to the brain, and changes in the neurotransmitters from completing their jobs to provide sensory-motor functions to the entire body. When this happens, not only does the nervous system gets affected, but the gut system gets affected as well.
Do gut disorder symptoms seem to be affecting your quality of life? Have you become sensitive to light? Have you felt muscle stiffness in your neck? Or have you been suffering from frequent headaches? If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it might be due to a concussion affecting your gut microbiota. The video above explains how a concussion and a leaky gut are linked. In an average functioning body, the gut and the brain have a bi-directional connection as they help send the neuron signals to each of the body systems and muscle tissues that make the body move. When traumatic forces like a concussion affect the brain, it can disrupt and change the neurotransmitters signals that can cause gut disorders in the microbiota. When gut disorders affect the gut microbiota, it can cascade a series of inflammatory effects that can affect the body’s homeostasis and immune function. Experiencing these symptoms in the body can drastically affect a person’s mood and quality of life if it is not taken care of immediately.
Since the gut-brain axis has a communication partnership, this axis helps the body’s immunity, homeostasis, and metabolism function. When a concussion starts to affect the gut-brain axis, research studies have shown that the communication pathways are affected in the gut-brain axis as tit incorporates the afferent and efferent signals. The signals involved in the gut-brain axis include the hormones, neurons, and immune pathways that can result in chronic gastrointestinal dysfunction and disability to the body. Since the gut helps keep the body functional through homeostasis, the brain helps the neuron signals provide sensory functions. With a concussion, these signals are disrupted, affecting the body’s functionality and causing a change in a person’s mood.
Overall the gut-brain axis provides functionality to the body by maintaining the homeostasis and metabolism of the immune system. A person’s involvement in a traumatic accident can lead to brain injuries like a concussion that can impair the gut and brain relationship. A concussion can become severe when it is not treated right away and can affect a person’s quality of life in their health and wellness journey.
Ferry, Benjamin, and Alexei DeCastro. “Concussion – Statpearls – NCBI Bookshelf.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 19 Jan. 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537017/.
Giza, Christopher C., and David A. Hovda. “The Neurometabolic Cascade of Concussion.” Journal of Athletic Training, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Inc., Sept. 2001, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC155411/.
Mann, Aneetinder, et al. “Concussion Diagnosis and Management: Knowledge and Attitudes of Family Medicine Residents.” Canadian Family Physician Medecin De Famille Canadien, College of Family Physicians of Canada, June 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5471087/.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Concussion.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Feb. 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/symptoms-causes/syc-20355594.
Tator, Charles H. “Concussions and Their Consequences: Current Diagnosis, Management and Prevention.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal = Journal De L’Association Medicale Canadienne, Canadian Medical Association, 6 Aug. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3735746/.
Zhu, Caroline S, et al. “A Review of Traumatic Brain Injury and the Gut Microbiome: Insights into Novel Mechanisms of Secondary Brain Injury and Promising Targets for Neuroprotection.” Brain Sciences, MDPI, 19 June 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6025245/.
The information herein on "Traumatic Brain Injuries & Gut Issues" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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