Over the past several years, the connection between gut health and mental health has been reported in leading medical journals and health-related magazines. Referred to as the gut-brain axis, the topic has become one of fascination for researchers. Studies have increasingly indicated that gut health can influence your brain to the degree that it affects your mood, how you think, and can even affect your behavior.
The Connection Between Your Brain and Digestion
The importance of a healthy diet, one that’s free of inflammatory foods and that supports overall gut health, is not only a key to a strong and healthy digestive system, but a means to a healthy outlook – one that can put you in a better mood. A diet that includes nutrient-dense foods such as Aloe Vera can positively affect gut microbiota which, in turn, by directly communicating with the brain, can modulate such functions commonly associated with behavior, mood, and cognition.
ENS vs CNS: The Gut-Brain Axis
Embedded in the lining of the gastrointestinal system is the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS governs all functions of the GI system. The gut-brain axis is the bidirectional connection between the ENS and the central nervous system (CNS) – the brain and spinal cord – which combines information and coordinates activity throughout the entire body. The circuitry that connects the pathways between the ENS and CNS, connect cognitive and emotional areas in the brain with peripheral gastrointestinal functions of the digestive system and vice-versa.
A good example of the interaction between the ENS and the CNS is its effect on the vagus nerve, which helps to regulate stress. One of the largest nerves connecting your brain and gut, the vagus nerve is considered a modulator of psychiatric and gastrointestinal disorders. Reduced function of the nerve has been linked to Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and people afflicted with anxiety disorders. Conversely, positively affecting the activity of the vagus nerve through improved gut bacteria has had a beneficial effect on mood and anxiety.
How Aloe Vera Can Affect Mood
One way to improve your mood is to improve your gut health. Introducing Aloe Vera into your diet is a good start. The role of Aloe Vera in benefiting the gut-brain axis relates to the ways in which Aloe Vera significantly supports gut health. The medicinal qualities of this succulent plant have been known for thousands of years. We are all familiar with its topical application in lotions and cosmetics or in providing relief for minor burns and wounds. But Aloe Vera is a nutrient-dense superfood that nourishes the digestive system and promotes a healthy gut.
Aloe Vera gel is loaded with at least 75 different nutrients. These constituent parts consist of vitamins, minerals and compounds that are beneficial to the digestive system and help boost nutrient absorption. The sheer volume of minerals and vitamins – calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, zinc, and vitamin B and B12, and antioxidant vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, and E – are all important to our body functions. Of the eight important enzymes in Aloe Vera two, amylase and lipase, specifically aid the digestive system by breaking down carbohydrates and sugars in food, and help to digest fat.
Aloe Vera’s anti-inflammatory properties also promote digestive wellness. Digestive issues generally relate to some type of inflammation within the digestive tract. Drinking Aloe Vera juice or adding the fruity gel to a smoothie, can provide soothing relief and calm the GI tract.
In 2014, one study reported Aloe Vera’s role in reducing gastric ulcers. The study found that the administration of Aloe Vera can inhibit gastric acid output. The numerous compounds and nutrients in the gel are believed to act in discouraging or inhibiting inflammation by providing a protective coating to the stomach lining that promotes healing.
Aloe Vera can also aid in detoxifying and flushing the digestive system. Aloe Vera products can aid in supporting relief for digestive conditions such as constipation and indigestion, but also can help support overall wellness through hydration and detoxification.
The interaction between the ENS and CNS plays a primary role in the functioning of the gut-brain axis. A healthy gut contributes to a healthy brain, our mood, behavior and of course affects our digestion system. To be clear, the introduction of Aloe Vera into a diet cannot affect one’s mood or behavior. It can, however, support a healthy digestive system, which can positively affect the gut-brain axis and the quality of your life.