Biohack Fact: Your Brain and Gut Are Directly Connected

The body’s vagus nerve runs from the brain to the GI tract, influencing almost everything

Illustration of a mosque, tram, bearded man eating at a table, calendar with a 5 and 2, and woman putting a supplement to her mouth holding a glass of water.

Table of Contents

Nutrition

Balance Your Gut’s Nutrition and You’ll Biohack Your Brain, Too

What you eat builds the foundation of your overall health — and that includes your brain. Make sure you consume adequate levels of micronutrients in the form of whole foods to feel your best and perform optimally.

Stomach shape made up of colorful fruits and vegetables.

How to Biohack Your Brain With Nutrition

We hear a lot about the importance of keeping our guts healthy. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that our gut health can also impact our brain. Your gut communicates through neurotransmitters, which are little chemical messengers that move back and forth between your gut and your brain.1 While neurotransmitters are commonly associated with the brain, many of them are produced in the gut. Around 95% of serotonin is made in your GI tract and a large proportion of GABA is made there too. Serotonin is responsible for regulating your sleep and boosting your mood.2 GABA helps manage fear and anxiety.3 Due to the significant number of brain cells present in the gut, some researchers refer to it as the “second brain”.1 

Nutrition plays a very important role in the connection between your brain and your gut. The trillions of microbes, also known as bacteria, in your gut have a direct impact on your brain, and the food you consume can influence these microbes.3 A diet high in refined sugar, salt, and fat causes inflammation and oxidative stress, which can harm both your brain and body tissues. Such foods have also been linked to impaired brain function and increased depression symptoms.2

Research Is Conclusive on the Gut-Brain Connection

The brain-gut connection is so important that the new term “Nutritional Psychiatry” has been coined to emphasize the role of nutritional medicine in maintaining brain health.4 There is growing evidence that nutrition plays a significant role in the current frequency of mental disorders, suggesting that diet could be as important to psychiatry as the health of your heart, hormones, and digestive tract.5

There has been a recent change in perspective regarding food, where it is no longer solely viewed as a source of energy and building blocks for the body, but also as a means of treating and preventing mental health disorders.6 For example, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (the “good” fats) supports cognitive function. Certain nutrients can influence brain function by interacting with molecular systems or cellular processes that are important for maintaining cognitive function. 

Eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients and good fats supports neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells or neurons) and synaptic plasticity (the number of connections made between neurons).7 The more neurons and connections we have, the better we can think, pay attention, and remember things. 

Research also shows us that a nutritious diet increases the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in our brains. BDNF is a key molecule that safeguards neurons against cell death, enhances neurogenesis, and improves cognitive abilities.7

Nutritional Foods to Help Your Brain Stay Healthy 8,9
  1. Green leafy veggies: This includes kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli. Greens are rich in Vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene, which may slow cognitive decline.
  2. Fatty fish: Fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are liked to lower levels of beta-amyloid in the bloodstream. Beta-amyloid is the protein responsible for damaging clumps in the brains of people with AD. 
  3. Berries: These fruits contain flavonoids that not only give them their bright color but also have been shown to improve memory.
  4. Tea and Coffee: Caffeine may improve mental function by solidifying new memories.
  5. Walnuts: These are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats, which are linked to improved memory and cognitive function.
  6. Turmeric: This is a bright orange root that has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that turmeric reduces the symptoms linked to depression and AD.
  7. Dark Chocolate/Cocoa Powder: These are packed with brain-boosting compounds like flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants, all of which have positive effects on the brain.

“What you eat matters, especially for your gray matter.”

Jim Kwik

Brain Coach & Author

Row of toast with different toppings including banana and hazelnut spread, avocado, salmon, berries, and strawberries and peanut butter.

Meal Plans

Daily Harvest

Hand holding out a cup full of strawberry mango smoothie with a straw by Daily Harvest.

Daily Harvest is a plant-based meal delivery service that provides delicious ready-to-eat smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, soups, snacks, and lattes. They use fruits and vegetables as the foundation of all their products and allow you to build your box with nourishing items for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time.

Sakara

Plate full of a healthy colorful meal with a lot of veggies and a cup of dressing by Sakara Life.

Transform your life with Sakara’s flexible nutrition programs and targeted nutrition systems. Their proprietary science-backed nutrition philosophy delivers life-transforming results through a whole-food, plant-rich diet. Experience transformation in as little as one week with Sakara’s signature nutrition program.

TUSOL

Cup of a purple smoothie by TUSOL with blueberries and blackberries on top and next to the glass.

TUSOL provides an organic meal replacement smoothie that can help you reach your health goals. Each smoothie is filled with 16g of plant protein, 29+ superfoods, 16+ adaptogens, probiotics and enzymes for a complete meal. TUSOL smoothies are backed by research and flavors created by a 3-Star Michelin Chef.

Health Plans

Dr. Jockers

Dr. Jockers logo with an icon of a stomach organ.

The Digestive Health Restoration Program manual is a 30-day program that guides you through all phases and helps you troubleshoot common challenges. It is a 3 phase system. The 3 phases are Reset, Rebuilding and Reinnoculation. If you are dealing with any digestive issues and want a natural solution to get well, then this program is for you!

Wild Health

Wild Health logo of simple white DNA strand.

Unlock better health with Wild Health’s personalized care plans based on your genetics. Get a comprehensive health analysis and recommendations around your nutrition, supplement regimen, metabolism, training methods, sleep quality, and mental health. Wild Health’s service also helps reduce inflammation and improve diabetic markers and cardiovascular disease risk.

1. The Brain-Gut Connection. (2021). Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connection 

2. Selhub, E. (2022). Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626 

3. Robertson, R. (2020). The Gut-Brain Connection: How it Works and The Role of Nutrition. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gut-brain-connection 

4. Nutrition for Brain Health. (2023). Food for the Brain Foundation. https://foodforthebrain.org/nutrition-is-so-important-for-your-brain/nutrition-for-brain-health/ 

5. Sarris, J., Logan, A. C., Akbaraly, T. N., Amminger, G. P., Balanzá-Martínez, V., Freeman, M. P., Hibbeln, J. R., Matsuoka, Y., Mischoulon, D., Mizoue, T., Nanri, A., Nishi, D., Ramsey, D., Rucklidge, J. J., Sánchez-Villegas, A., Scholey, A., Su, K., & Jacka, F. N. (2015). Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. The Lancet Psychiatry, 2(3), 271–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2215-0366(14)00051-0 

6. Gomez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(7), 568–578. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2421 

7. Ahmad, F., Hasan, H., Abdelhady, S., Fakih, W., Osman, N., Shaito, A., & Kobeissy, F. (2021). Healthy Meal, Happy Brain: How Diet Affects Brain Functioning. Frontiers for Young Minds, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/frym.2021.578214 

8. Foods linked to better brain power. (2021). Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/foods-linked-to-better-brainpower 

9. How Nutrition Impacts the Brain and Mental Health. (2020). The Whole U: University of Washington. https://thewholeu.uw.edu/2020/03/02/nnm-2020-nutrition-and-the-brain/

Fasting

Intermittent and Extended Fasting: A Great Biohack for Brain Health

Helping you maintain a healthy weight isn’t the only benefit of this well-studied, remarkable biohack. Time-restricted eating also supports the gut, and helps the brain by boosting memory, productivity, and focus.

Wooden plate acting as a clock with silverware as the hands and healthy foods where the numbers would be.

Fasting Benefits the Brain and the Gut

Fasting has become increasingly popular in the biohacking world and we are now learning about the benefits that it can have on the brain. Fasting focuses on when we eat rather than what we eat. It implies only eating and drinking during specific times of the day or certain days of the week.1 This triggers something called metabolic switching, which is when the body runs out of sugar and starts using fat for energy. Usually, our cells choose to use glucose (or sugar) as their primary form of energy, leaving fat to build up in our bodies. However, when we fast, our cells use ketones, which are a form of fat, preventing the accumulation of fat in the body.2 

Research shows that this switch can improve thinking and memory, physical performance, and tissue health. It can also help with obesity and Type II diabetes. Furthermore, fasting has been shown to decrease inflammation, which can enhance brain function and potentially reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.3

Ketones Are the Brain’s Most Efficient Fuel Source

When the body uses fat for energy, the resulting ketones have a unique effect on brain cells, promoting stress resistance, tissue repair, plasticity, and the recycling of damaged molecules and proteins.4,5 These effects are the basis for the benefits of fasting in combating certain brain diseases. Research demonstrates that fasting can improve cognitive function and possibly prevent and slow the progression of certain brain disorders. Additionally, clinical studies have shown that fasting can improve cognition, reduce cognitive decline and brain damage, enhance functional recovery after stroke, slow the progression of epilepsy,5 as well as decrease symptoms and the development of Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis (MS).4 

Apart from its physical and cognitive benefits, fasting may also offer emotional advantages. A review of 11 clinical trials found that fasting was associated with reduced symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Participants who fasted also had lower body mass index and reported less fatigue compared to control groups.6

A study comparing three groups of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) – regular fasters, irregular fasters, and non-fasters – found that a higher proportion of MCI patients in the regular fasting group showed regular aging rates and had no cognitive impairment or disease progression compared to the other two groups. This suggests that fasting may have a neuroprotective effect on the aging brain.7

Choose Any of the Many Effective Fasting Practices 8,9

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that fasting isn’t for everyone. Therefore, be sure to talk to your doctor before you start any sort of fasting regimen.

Some popular fasting practices include:

  1. 5:2 plan: This plan involves eating a low-calorie diet (500-600 calories) 2 days a week and a regular unrestricted diet the other 5 days.
  2. Alternate Day Fasting: This plan suggests fasting (either drinking fluids or eating 25% of your normal food intake, about 500 calories) every other day, and eating whatever you want on unrestricted days.
  3. Time-Restricted Eating (16:8, 20:4): This plan limits meals, snacks, and caloric beverages to a specific window of time each day. Generally, the eating window is 4 to 8 hours and you can only have water, tea, black coffee, or other zero-calorie beverages for the other 16 to 20 hours of the day.
  4. Extended Fasting: With this plan, you’ll fast for a full 24 hrs once or twice a week and eat normally on the remaining days. It is also called the Eat:Stop:Eat plan.

“Brains have evolved to function well or even optimally in a food-deprived (fasted) state.”

Dr. Mark Mattson

Neuroscientist & Fasting Expert

Illustrated row of fruits and vegetables alternating with clocks at different times.

Fasting Mimicking Diet

ProLon

ProLon is a fasting nutrition program that provides essential nutrients while keeping your body in a fasting state.

Based on over 20 years of scientific research funded by institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, ProLon uses precision nutrition to nourish your body with food while inducing the cellular, metabolic, and emotional benefits of prolonged fasting.

ProLon supports the body’s natural process of cellular clean-up and kickstarts weight loss (on average 5 pounds), especially belly fat, while protecting lean body mass.

Customers report feeling greater focus and clarity toward the end and after completing the fast. ProLon meals come in 5 easy-to-eat boxes with a variety of delicious options.

Stack of four jars of ProLon Life L-Spread Apulian almond and cocoa spread for healthy aging.

Metabolism Monitoring

Lumen

Lumen is a hand-held, portable device that accurately measures metabolism by tracking and analyzing the CO2 concentration in a single breath.

It is the world’s first device of its kind and was once only available to top athletes in hospitals and clinics but is now available to everyone.

Lumen creates a personalized meal plan for the day based on its analysis of your breath, taking any dietary restrictions into account, to help you reach your health goals. 

It also tracks your metabolism, sleep, nutrition, and fitness data to provide a Lumen Flex Score which reflects your success and helps sustain results.

By focusing on metabolism instead of restrictive or unsustainable diets, Lumen helps you lose weight and keep it off for good with daily feedback.

Lumen Metabolism Tracker device next to a smartphone with screen showing the Lumen Metabolic Coach app.

Electrolytes

BEAM Minerals

Bottle of Beam Minerals Electrolyze liquid micronutrient support over an illustrated blue and green leaf.

BEAM Minerals’ Electrolyze™ is a replenishment solution that charges the body’s energy production systems. It provides 100% bioavailable electrolytes and trace minerals. Electrolyze™ is made from fulvic complexes that offer transportation for nutrients into cells and toxins out of cells.

Seeking Health

Canister of Seeking Health Optimal Electrolyte dietary supplement powder in natural berry flavor.

Optimal Electrolyte powder is a natural supplement that promotes all-day hydration and energy. It’s strategically formulated to support healthy ATP (energy) production and electrolyte balance. Electrolyte levels, hydration, and cellular energy collectively determine your ability to thrive. 

1. Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work? (2023). Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/intermittent-fasting-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work 

2. Wnuk, A. (2018). How Does Fasting Affect the Brain? BrainFacts.org. https://www.brainfacts.org/Thinking-Sensing-and-Behaving/Diet-and-Lifestyle/2018/How-Does-Fasting-Affect-the-Brain-071318 

3. Ajmera, R. (2023). 8 Health Benefits of Fasting, Backed by Science. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fasting-benefits 

4. Gudden, J., Vasquez, A. A., & Bloemendaal, M. (2021). The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Brain and Cognitive Function. Nutrients, 13(9), 3166. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13093166 

5. Phillips, M. R. (2019). Fasting as a Therapy in Neurological Disease. Nutrients, 11(10), 2501. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102501 

6. Berthelot, E., Etchecopar-Etchart, D., Thellier, D., Lançon, C., Boyer, L., & Fond, G. (2021). Fasting Interventions for Stress, Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 13(11), 3947. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13113947 

7. Ooi, T. C., Meramat, A., Rajab, N. F., Shahar, S., Ismail, I. S., Azam, A. A., & Sharif, R. (2020). Intermittent Fasting Enhanced the Cognitive Function in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment by Inducing Biochemical and Metabolic changes: A 3-Year Progressive Study. Nutrients, 12(9), 2644. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092644 

8. How Does Intermittent Fasting Affect the Brain? (2022). Brain & Life. https://www.brainandlife.org/articles/how-does-intermittent-fasting-affect-the-brain 

9. Intermittent Fasting: How It Works and 4 Types Explained. (2022). Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/intermittent-fasting-4-different-types-explained/

Supplements

Biohackers Use Gut Health Supplements To Grow Their Brains

With the vagus nerve providing a direct connection between your gut and brain, it’s essential for the microbiome in your GI tract to be balanced for optimal mental health and clear thinking. Biohack your gut and brain with supplements.

Bowl of yogurt topped with berries, mint leaves, chopped nuts, and a golden berry in its husk in the center.

Scientists Call the Gut Your “Little Brain”

Our gut health is more important than many of us realize. Not only does it affect how we feel physically, but it also affects us mentally. Recent studies have revealed that the gut and brain are directly connected through neurotransmitters, which are tiny chemical messengers that communicate between the two organs.1 While we typically associate neurotransmitters with the brain, about 95% of serotonin is made in your GI. Serotonin is the feel-good, mood-boosting chemical.2 So many cells live in your GI tract that scientists have started calling it the “little brain”.1 Maintaining a healthy diet is one way to promote gut health, but supplements can offer an easy and affordable method to bolster gut health and improve mood.

Although the term “nootropics” is often associated with supplements that enhance cognitive function by working directly in the brain,3 this term doesn’t apply to gut supplements. Gut supplements are usually in the form of probiotics, which are available in the form of fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and kefir, or as concentrated capsules. Probiotics are made up of healthy bacteria which support gut function and strengthen the gut-brain relationship.4

Do You Know It In Your Gut? Biohack Your Brain

A new term has emerged in recent years, known as “psychobiotics,” which refers to live organisms that offer health benefits to individuals suffering from mental illness.5 The gut’s intimate connection with the brain has led to the use of probiotics to promote gut health and alleviate symptoms of depression. One study found that patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) had significantly decreased symptoms after taking a probiotic for 8 weeks.6 Furthermore, specific strains of bacteria have been found to improve the quality of life of individuals with MDD.7

In addition to probiotics, lesser-known prebiotics and postbiotics also play a crucial role in maintaining gut health. Prebiotics are a group of nutrients (usually fiber) that act as food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. By breaking down and digesting food, prebiotics aid in enhancing your immune system.8 Postbiotics, on the other hand, are the compounds produced by the beneficial bacteria when they consume prebiotics.9 Each of these can play an important role in keeping your gut health balanced and can be a beneficial addition to your daily routine and overall health and longevity.

Recommended Probiotics to Support Gut Health
  1. Prebiotics: These compounds act as food for good gut bacteria.10
  2. Probiotics: These are microorganisms that increase the population of good bacteria in your gut. You can find these in certain foods, pills, and powders.10
  3. Postbiotics: These are derived from the compounds produced by pre- and probiotics, which can be utilized to create beneficial products and treatments.10

“Everything about our health — how we feel both emotionally and physically — hinges on the state of our microbiome.”

Dr. David Perlmutter

Neurologist & Author

Two spoons facing each other, each containing three different supplement pills.

Prebiotics, Probiotics, Postbiotics

OMNi-BiOTiC

Box of Omni-Biotic AB10 microbiome restoration probiotic supplements.

OMNi-BiOTiC AB 10 is a probiotic supplement that helps restore and maintain bacterial diversity in the gastrointestinal microbiome. It supports gut microbiome balance and function and is clinically tested. The formulation is specifically designed for gut microbiome restoration and has been shown to be effective as a probiotic during and after antibiotics.

Seeking Health

Container of Seeking Health ProBiota HistaminX probiotic supplements.

Good gut health is more than just taking probiotic supplements. Your gut microbiota depend on healthy digestion and a fully functioning digestive tract. Explore Seeking Health’s gut health supplements to support good gut health and a balanced gut microbiome. Optimal GI, ProBiota HistaminX, and ProBiota 12 are some of the supplements that can help.

Nutricost

Bottle of Nutricost CoQ10 Capsules.

Nutricost provides high-quality nutritional supplements for various health goals. They follow strict manufacturing practices, ensuring that their supplements are produced in FDA-registered and GMP-certified facilities. Nutricost believes in transparency and provides detailed labels listing all ingredients and their respective quantities.

organifi

Container of Organifi Pure supplement powder for mental clarity and digestion.

Pure is a specialized blend formulated with ingredients that promote stimulation in learning, memory, focus, and clarity. It stimulates BDNF, a key neuroprotein associated with learning and memory in the brain, and addresses the Gut-Brain Axis. Pure is a refreshing low-sugar blend loaded with superfoods including lemon and apple cider vinegar.

Brain Supplements

Radical Roots

Container of Radical Roots Complete Spectrum capsules.

Discover the power of Chinese herbal medicine with this Hemp-infused collection. These products combine ancient Chinese herbs with modern science to deliver maximum wellness benefits. The classic herbal collection offers a selection of herbs and formulations that have been used for centuries to promote health and wellness, tailored to fit the needs of a modern lifestyle.

Just Thrive

Bottle of Just Thrive Ultimate IgG supplements next to three capsules.

Just Thrive products are made with some of the most researched ingredients in the industry and are clinically tested and proven to be safe and effective for you and your family. You can trust Just Thrive products to make a difference in your life. What’s more, through their partnership with Vitamin Angels, a portion of every sale supports mothers and children in need.

Bulletproof

Bottle of Bulletproof NeuroMaster supplements on a wood block, one capsule on a smaller block, and a glass of water.

NeuroMaster is a brain function supplement that supports attention, focus and neuron creation. It contains coffee fruit extract which is known to increase BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor), helping produce new brain cells and strengthen existing ones. Simply start a smart routine and feel the difference a supplement supported by science-backed ingredients can make.

BodyBio

Canister of 100 BodyBio Sodium Butyrate capsules.

Butyrate is a vital end product of a healthy microbiome. It fuels and energizes the gut lining, allowing easy nutrient absorption into the bloodstream while combating permeability. It’s an effective gut health supplement with full-body benefits. Butyrate supports healthy inflammation response, regulates immune function, and helps balance insulin and blood sugar levels.

HANAH LIFE

Jar of Hanah Life Hanah One Daily Superfood paste next to an individual packet of the supplement.

HANAH ONE is a unique blend of 30 herbs, adaptogens, and nootropics, combined in honey, ghee, and sesame oil. All ingredients are wild-harvested by hand to ensure quality and efficacy. HANAH ONE provides a sustainable, slow burn of energy with effects that last and build over time. The benefits of these herbs have been well documented and proven over thousands of years.

Bee Supplements

Beekeeper’s Naturals

Unlock your full brain potential with Wild Health’s Royal Jelly Brain Fuel. This proprietary formula combines royal jelly with plant-based adaptogens, bacopa monnieri and ginkgo biloba to support brain health, as well as improve cognitive function and mental clarity.

Each vial contains 500mg of royal jelly – the exclusive food of the queen bee – known to improve cognitive function.

Bacopa Monnieri enhances brain function by supporting the brain’s ability to learn and retain information. Ginkgo Biloba boosts blood flow to the brain and may help with learning, focus, and memory.

This product can be used for beating the 3pm slump, a caffeine-free energy boost, getting into flow state, early mornings/late nights, a boost of creativity, and mental clarity. Build a routine: Follow up your Royal Jelly Brain Fuel with a spoonful of Superfood Honey to nourish your brain, support your immune system, and feed your body with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Two different size boxes of Beekeeper's Naturals Royal Jelly Brain Fuel dietary supplement.

1. The Brain-Gut Connection. (2021). Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connection

2. Selhub, E., MD. (2022). Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626

3. Suliman, N. A., Taib, C. A., Moklas, M. a. M., Adenan, M. I., Baharuldin, M. T. H., & Basir, R. (2016g). Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural Nootropic. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/4391375

4. Paraskevakos, G. (2022). Probiotics and the Brain. International Probiotics Association. https://internationalprobiotics.org/probiotics-and-the-brain/

5. Tomen, D. (2023). Psychobiotics: The Gut-Brain Connection. nootropicsexpert.com. https://nootropicsexpert.com/psychobiotics-gut-brain-connection/

6. Akkasheh, G., Kashani-Poor, Z., Tajabadi-Ebrahimi, M., Jafari, P., Akbari, H., Taghizadeh, M., Memarzadeh, M. R., Asemi, Z., & Esmaillzadeh, A. (2016). Clinical and metabolic response to probiotic administration in patients with major depressive disorder: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrition, 32(3), 315–320. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2015.09.003

7. Cryan, J. F., O’Riordan, K. J., Cowan, C. S. M., Sandhu, K. V., Bastiaanssen, T. F., Boehme, M., Codagnone, M. G., Cussotto, S., Fülling, C., Golubeva, A. V., Guzzetta, K. E., Vaidya, V. A., Long-Smith, C. M., Lyte, J. M., Martin, J., Molinero-Perez, A., Moloney, G. M., Morelli, E., Morillas, E., . . . Dinan, T. G. (2019). The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis. Physiological Reviews, 99(4), 1877–2013. https://doi.org/10.1152/physrev.00018.2018

8. Davani-Davari, D., Negahdaripour, M., Karimzadeh, I., Seifan, M., Ghasemi, Y., Masoumi, S. J., & Berenjian, A. (2019). Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications. Foods, 8(3), 92. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8030092

9. Żółkiewicz, J., Marzec, A., Ruszczyński, M., & Feleszko, W. (2020). Postbiotics—A Step Beyond Pre- and Probiotics. Nutrients, 12(8), 2189. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082189

10. What Are Postbiotics? (2021). Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/postbiotics/ 

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Biohacking Brain Pioneers

Brain Experts

Broaden your understanding of brain science by tracking the latest findings from these accomplished specialists.

Nathalie Niddam

Black and white photo of biohacker Nathalie Niddam on a purple background.

Nathalie Niddam is an epigenetic coach, author, and certified holistic nutritionist from Canada. In her practice, she incorporates ideas from neuroscience, nutraceuticals, biohacking, and resilience training. She has vast knowledge and expertise on health optimization, particularly when it comes to using bioregulator peptides as tools for healing, anti-aging, and longevity.

Her interest in the field led her to build and moderate a huge Facebook community called “Optimizing Superhuman Performance,” which focuses on how the body is capable of repairing itself through bioregulator peptides. Soon after, she created her podcast, “Biohacking Superhuman Performance,” where she has conversations with experts regarding biohacking, longevity, and nutrition. She also created Nathalie Niddam Nutrition, which provides coaching, online courses, and a supportive community which encourages people to proactively manage their well-being through positive lifestyle changes. 

Beside sharing on Instagram and YouTube, Niddam speaks in conferences and has been featured on networks such as NBC News, CBS 2 News, and Market Watch.

Dr. David Perlmutter

Black and white photo of biohacker Dr. David Perlmutter on a red background.

Dr. David Perlmutter is a multi-award-winning neurologist, medical adviser, and New York Times bestselling author. As a fellow and board member of the American College of Nutrition, his work is primarily focused on lifestyle changes that can aid in preventing neurological disorders. His biohacking techniques include the integration of a low-carbohydrate, high-fiber diet, and exercise for better brain health.

His work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Journal of Neurosurgery, Journal of Applied Nutrition, and Archives of Neurology. He is also the founder of the Perlmutter Health Center, which promotes a holistic health approach and continually shares his expertise on Instagram and YouTube.

Dr. Perlmutter is an advisor for The Dr. Oz Show and has been a guest on other programs including Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, The Today Show, CBS, and Oprah. He has received multiple public health advocate awards, including the 2010 Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Biohacking Brain FAQs

Biohacking Longevity with Brain Health

Unveiling the power of your brain for a longer life filled with mental clarity and fulfillment.

  • How does gut health impact brain function and cognitive performance?

    Gut health has a profound impact on brain function and cognitive performance. The gut and the brain are interconnected through the gut-brain axis, a bidirectional communication system. The gut microbiome, a collection of microorganisms in the digestive tract, plays a crucial role in this communication. A healthy gut microbiome promotes the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are essential for mood regulation and cognitive function. Imbalances in gut bacteria can lead to inflammation, neurotransmitter imbalances, and impaired cognitive performance.

  • Which supplements can support a healthy gut and enhance brain function?

    There are several supplements that can promote gut health and enhance brain function. Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut, improving digestion and supporting a healthy microbiome. Prebiotics, like inulin and resistant starch, act as food for these beneficial bacteria, helping them thrive. Furthermore, supplements like curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids, and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) can reduce inflammation in the gut and support optimal brain function.

  • How does nutrition influence gut health and brain performance?

    Nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy gut and optimizing brain performance. A diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, provides essential nutrients for both the gut and the brain. Fiber-rich foods, such as legumes and whole grains, promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Healthy fats like avocados and nuts provide omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, consuming fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir can introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut, supporting a healthy microbiome.

  • Can intermittent fasting benefit gut health and improve brain function?

    Yes, intermittent fasting can benefit gut health and improve brain function. Fasting gives the digestive system a break, allowing the gut to repair and regenerate. It can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, increase the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that nourish the gut lining, and reduce inflammation. Moreover, fasting promotes the production of ketones, which are an alternative fuel source for the brain and have been shown to enhance cognitive function and focus.

  • How does stress affect gut health and cognitive function?

    Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on gut health and cognitive function. Stress activates the body’s fight-or-flight response, leading to the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels can disrupt the gut microbiome, impair digestion, and increase inflammation. Moreover, chronic stress can negatively impact cognitive function, causing difficulties with memory, focus, and decision-making. Managing stress through techniques like meditation, exercise, and adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy gut and optimal brain performance.

  • Can lifestyle factors such as exercise and sleep influence gut health and brain function?

    Yes, lifestyle factors like exercise and sleep have a significant impact on gut health and brain function. Regular exercise improves blood flow to the gut, enhances digestion, and promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Exercise also releases endorphins and promotes neuroplasticity, improving cognitive function. Adequate sleep is crucial for gut health as it allows for repair and regeneration. Sleep deprivation disrupts the gut microbiome and impairs cognitive performance, including focus, attention, and memory.

  • How does the use of antibiotics affect the gut-brain connection?

    The use of antibiotics can disrupt the delicate balance of gut bacteria, affecting the gut-brain connection. Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria, both harmful and beneficial ones. While they may be necessary to treat certain infections, indiscriminate use can lead to dysbiosis—a microbial imbalance in the gut. Dysbiosis can result in inflammation, impaired neurotransmitter production, and compromised brain function. If antibiotics are necessary, it’s important to support gut health by taking probiotics and consuming fiber-rich foods to replenish beneficial bacteria.

  • Can environmental toxins impact gut health and cognitive function?

    Yes, environmental toxins can impact both gut health and cognitive function. Toxins present in the air, water, and food can disrupt the gut microbiome and contribute to gut inflammation. Some toxins, like heavy metals and pesticides, can accumulate in the body and affect brain function, leading to cognitive impairments. Minimizing exposure to toxins by choosing organic foods, using natural cleaning products, and filtering drinking water can help support gut health and preserve cognitive performance.

  • How does the gut influence mood and mental well-being?

    The gut has a significant influence on mood and mental well-being. The gut produces neurotransmitters like serotonin, often referred to as the “happy hormone,” which plays a crucial role in regulating mood. In fact, approximately 95% of serotonin is produced in the gut. When the gut microbiome is imbalanced, serotonin production may be compromised, leading to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. By supporting a healthy gut through proper nutrition, supplementation, and stress management, we can positively impact our mental well-being.

  • What specific eating patterns or diets that can improve gut health and brain function?

    Certain eating patterns or diets can improve gut health and brain function. The Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, has been associated with a healthy gut microbiome and improved cognitive function. Additionally, the ketogenic diet, which is low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats, can promote gut health and provide an alternative fuel source for the brain. However, it’s important to find an eating pattern that works best for your individual needs and consult with a healthcare professional before making significant dietary changes.

Biohacking Brain Videos

Nourish Your Gut, Boost Your Brain

Enhance your brain function through biohacking strategies that prioritize gut health and microbiome optimization.

How to Enhance Your Gut Microbiome for Brain & Overall Health

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Additional Biohacking Gut Insight

Discover podcasts, YouTube channels, websites, apps, and more to enhance your knowledge and empower your biohacking journey.

Orange Gut Dr logo with intestine cut-out between the words.

Gut Dr Education Hub

Gut Dr is a trusted resource for gut health information, providing accurate and reliable insights to help individuals improve their overall well-being.

Led by Dr. Vincent Ho, a senior lecturer and practicing gastroenterologist, Gut Dr offers valuable knowledge on various gut-related issues, including irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Ho’s expertise in the field, combined with his personal experiences, drives his passion to unlock the mysteries of gut health.

The website features articles, a newsletter, and Dr. Ho’s book, “The Healthy Baby Gut Guide,” offering practical advice and scientific discoveries to promote a healthy gut from the inside out.

GutDr.com

Gut Health Gurus Podcast

The Gut Health Gurus Podcast, hosted by Kriben Govender, a Food Scientist and Gut Health Advocate, delves into the significance of gut health for overall well-being.

Kriben shares his personal journey, which included experiencing a series of challenges that led him to discover the profound impact of gut health on various health issues. The podcast aims to educate listeners on the importance of gut health and provides insights on how to improve health and well-being by focusing on gut health.

Through interviews and discussions, Kriben explores the connection between gut health and overall wellness, offering valuable information and strategies for listeners to optimize their gut health.

The Gut Health Gurus Podcast