The Science of Gut instincts

The mysterious magic inside your belly

Ever try to find out the answer to a question by putting a hand on your belly, and just asking?

Your digestive tract is home to over a million gut bacteria. And, if you have a stake in planet Twitter, you have probably picked up on the spate of recent studies suggesting that those little beasties are more influential than we once thought. Now research is illuminating the relationship between what’s in our bellies and what’s in our heads.

As well as helping to digest your food, the bugs inside you can affect your mood and behaviour. They can boost serotonin or heighten anxiety - encourage relaxation or induce terror. Yes, “gut feeling” is a real, scientifically-backed phenomenon.

For many of us, it's no great revelation to learn that there is little separation between mind and body. But it's good to see research get behind a holistic view of moods, emotions and general health as a whole picture - rather than isolating our psychological patterns as ‘mental health’ concerns, separate from bodily health and out on a much-mocked limb of healthcare.

And it even has some scientists getting poetic - a paper recently published in the Journal of Physiology even proposed that we start talking about our "state of gut" instead of our "a state of mind".

Read more about the new wave of gut research here.