By: Yvette Slagle, Communications Manager
Pacific Quest’s Clinical Director, Dr. Lorraine Freedle and Medical Director, Dr. Britta Zimmer recently co-presented at the 2016 Independent Educational Consultant Association conference in New Orleans. Their presentation “The Gut Brain Connection: Emerging Trends in Integrative Health” began with the simple question, “What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘gut feeling’?” Audience members commented “intuition,” “instinct,” and “trust”. With more than 90 % of the body’s serotonin being created in the digestive tract, this collaborative presentation highlighted how “gut feelings” are real, and how a “second brain” consisting of millions of neural networks and micro bacteria work together to send signals from the gut to the brain. Research suggests an imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to an imbalance in the brain resulting in a myriad of issues ranging from anxiety, depression, mood dysregulation and autoimmune disease.
The session focused on the importance of treating the whole person in an informed and targeted manner to maximize the effectiveness of treatment. Dr. Zimmer shared current research that suggests inflammation in the gut directly correlates to inflammation in the brain, and the ways in which gut microbiota affects the state of mind. She highlighted the importance of consuming probiotics found in yogurt and fermented foods. In addition, she discussed inflammatory substances – processed foods, environmental toxins and emotional stress and the importance of decreasing inflammation in the body through sleep hygiene, physical activity, deep breathing and stress resiliency.
Following the presentation, Pacific Quest’s Outreach Director, Denise Westman, commented, “I’m always so energized after hearing my colleagues engaged and excited to learn more about this important work we are doing with our students. We are so fortunate to have Lorraine and Britta collaborating on such a timely subject and working closely together to positively impact our students.”
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