How An Unhealthy Gut May Interfere With Your Concentration

The gut can affect concentration in a couple of ways. “On a basic note, when we have indigestion, bloating, or gas, we are uncomfortable and cannot focus on tasks or conversations,” integrative neurologist Ilene Ruhoy, M.D. Ph.D., explains.

Physiologically, the gut can also affect concentration via the gut-brain axis. “The gut-brain connection is a bidirectional highway that transmits critical data between the GI tract and the brain,” internal medicine physician Austin Perlmutter, M.D., previously explained.  

Research has proved that an imbalance in the gut microbiome can lead to changes in mood, negatively affect learning and memory function, and may also cause inflammation in the brain

“A chronically unhealthy gut can lead to an altered microbiome with an imbalance of pathogenic bacteria species. This can impair metabolism, leading to too low or too high neurotransmitters, then cause difficulty with focus, concentration, and lack of mental clarity,” Ruhoy says. “It can also lead to lack of substrates for optimal mitochondrial function, which then does not provide enough energy for the brain to perform.”

These symptoms are often referred to as brain fog, and thankfully there are ways to manage them. If the problems are persistent or concerning, though, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor or neurologist.

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