Brain-Gut-Immune System Connection

These body systems are responsible for our security, protection and safety.

These systems remain in constant communication to determine our identity and our response. For instance stress, envy or anxiety influence presence or absence of irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, indigestion, fibromyalgia, muscle aches and pains, or even depression. They all may lead to the development of cancer or cognitive disease like Alzheimer's.

There are as many neurons (nerve cells) in the gut as there are in the spinal cord. 95% of the body's serotonin is made in the bowel and we know that there is a brain in the bowel. The ugly gut is more intellectual than the heart and may have a greater capacity for "feeling". It is the only organ that contains an intrinsic nervous system that is able to mediate reflexes in the complete absence of input from the brain or spinal cord. Gut has a mind of its own. There are more than a hundred million nerve cells in the human small intestine alone. Adding nerve cells of the esophagus, stomach and colon makes more nerve cells in our gastrointestinal tract than in our spine. We have more nerve cells in our gut than there are in the entire remainder of our peripheral nervous system. Neurotransmitters are used by the nerve cells as words in order to communicate with one another and with cells under their control. The multiplicity of neurotransmitters in the bowel causes the language spoken by the cells in the gut to be rich and similar to brain in its complexity.

Malfunction of the enteric nervous system may be resistant to therapies aimed at the brain, but these therapies may work at the gut, and vice versa. The enteric system is not dependent entirely upon the brain, but to contrary, has an independent spirit. The gut represents an independent site of neural integration and processing. And this is what makes it a second brain.

These three body systems cooperate with each other. This means that treatment of one influences function of the other two.

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Marek Gawrysz, MD

Marek Gawrysz, MD

I earned my medical degree from the Medical Academy in Krakow (Collegium Medicum of the Jagiellonian University), Poland in 1978. One of the oldest and most venerated centers for medical study in the world. My training requirements were fulfilled at the Medical Academy in Krakow, Poland, Swedish Covenant Hospital and Columbus-Cuneo-Cabrini Medical Center in Chicago.

I am board certified in both Family Practice and Anti-aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine, with a fellowship in the latter. I have been practicing medicine for 40 years.

I received the People's Choice, Most Compassionate Doctor award in . . .

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American Academy of Anti-Aging MedicineFellowship in Anti-Aging, Regenerative & Functional MedicineAmerican Academy of Family PhysiciansAmerican Board of Physician SpecialtiesJagiellonian UniversityPolish-American Medical Society