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Wade Lightheart, a co-founder of BiOptimizers, talks about the connection between digestive system and cognitive function. Wade is a 3-time All Natural USA National Bodybuilding Champion and Director of Education at BiOptimizers Nutrition.

Read the other posts in Wade's series on Gut Health and Optimal Brain Performance

We can optimise our brain by boosting digestion. Gut bacteria produce and respond to the same neurotransmitters and chemicals. Without the symbiotic relationship between these guys, you are not going to be able to produce things like GABA, serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, acetylcholine and melatonin.

All of these are chemicals and neurotransmitters that regulate mood and cognition are dependent on the bacteria, the microflora, the diet that one has, and the ability of bacteria to feed the brain.

illustration showing the connection between gut and brain

Image source

Much of the feedback received by the brain from the gastrointestinal tract is mediated by peptides released in the gut in response to the presence of nutrients.

Our team at BiOptimizers has PhDs in the field of biofilm and bacteria who are testing different types of fats, carbs, and foods to understand how they interact with the microbiome, because optimising the gut is absolutely essential to brain performance.

Probiotic Strains to Boost Digestion

If you want to boost your digestion and your gut, particularly there are some specific probiotic strains that are going to have a nootropic effect. For instance:

  • Lactobacillus brevis: supports BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). That’s one of the aspects that get activated from fasting as well.
  • Lactobacillus helveticus: boosts mood and serotonin.
  • Bifidobacterium animalis: enhances cognitive performance.

Many people who struggle with cognition and performance are often lacking in some of these bacteria strains. A part of my own strategy was to recognise that my diet, which I was previously on, wasn’t supportive of these bacteria. I needed to add some of these cognition supporting probiotics, which also have given me a boost in neurotransmitters.

Next, there are proteolytic probiotics, that literally break down, digest and absorb protein. These can also enhance brain health. These can be a game changer. I have a lot of testimonials of people that have found extraordinary results by adding a proteolytic probiotic into their body.

What you need to do is to improve your microflora and boost proteolysis, which is essentially just converting protein into the amino acids and ultimately to the polypeptide chains that make neurotransmitters in your body.

You need to stimulate your digestive protease peptidase through bio activating bile, and also using things like hydrochloric acid. You need to be able to release exosomes, which are involved in the digestive proteins.

Ultimately, anything that boosts the absorption of peptides and amino acids is going to be a plus for your brain health and function.

Now, we need some practical applications. Try these 5 steps for a definitive effect on your cognitive performance.

Oksana Movchan
Oksana Movchan



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