The Gut – Brain Connection

We are currently experiencing an epidemic of childhood brain-related disorders in the Western world. Over the past decade or so, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children diagnosed with neuro- developmental disorders caused by compromised brain function. These include; ADHD, autism, learning and behavioural disorders, alongside an increase in conditions such as depression and anxiety. With these escalating problems impacting the health of the brain, the question must be asked. What is it about our modern lifestyle that is so destructive to our children’s brain health?

How is our Modern Lifestyle Destructive to Brain Health

While there has been a lot of conflicting information about the onset of these brain related conditions ranging from improved diagnostic criteria, congenital abnormalities all the way to poor parenting. The fact remains there are thousands of research papers backed by clinical experience stating there is a definite connection between gut health and its impact on how well the brain functions.

The Gut and Brain are Connected

In fact, the gut and brain originate from the same area in the embryo. Therefore, more often than not, children who suffer from any one of the childhood conditions which impacts brain functions also may experience disruption to their gut health.

Digestive complaints can range from constipation to diarrhoea, bloating and nausea to tummy pains. These digestive upsets sound unimportant and give the appearance of being unrelated to cognitive functions. So how can problems in the pooping department impact your child’s brain functions?

When the Gut speaks the Brain listens

The nervous system cells connected to the brain are interwoven within the Gut Wall, they are connected by an extensive network of billions of nerve cells. These nerve cells transmit information and allow the brain to communicate to various compartments within itself and also send messages to other parts of the body. This is essentially how the brain oversees and monitors the thousands of functions it carries out within the body on a daily basis such as walking, talking, breathing and maintaining a regular heartbeat.

The Super-Highway

It’s these nerve cells that provide a framework backwards and forwards along a super-highway between the gut and the brain. These cells are collectively called the Vagus nerve. However, the popular saying ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ is not the case here. The brain and the gut are constantly chatting to each other conveying messages up and down the superhighway from the brain to the gut. This allows the brain to act as a watchdog, to supervise the complex daily functions of the gut. They work in unison to perform the complicated tasks of digesting food, regulating appetite and metabolism, releasing enzymes to breakdown food, absorption of nutrients and the eventual elimination of wastes.

And… The Brain talks back to the Gut

We have all experienced the sensations of the brain communicating with the gut, maybe without realising it. Most of us can relate to feelings of nausea, butterflies in the pit of our stomach or that gut-wrenching feeling that accompanies anxiety and nervousness. When our brain registers that we are out of our comfort zone, the gut instantly registers this information which results in uncomfortable gut sensations like the ‘butterflies’ in the tummy we associate with being in a stressful situation.

A Troubled Gut = A Troubled Brain

An unhealthy gut that is inflamed and leaky may send ‘unhappy’ messages which can bring about changes to brain functions. Research confirms that kids with learning difficulties and behavioural problems are significantly more prone to digestive upsets such as food intolerances, constipation and/or diarrhoea than kids who don’t exhibit these symptoms. Unhappy messages from the gut can wreak havoc and cause profound and unexpected results to the emotional and cognitive centres in the brain.

In a nutshell, if the gut is registering a problem this can bring about changes to your child’s brain function.

To support Brain Function – you must first Heal the Gut

Many children who suffer from learning or behavioural problems experience an underlying issue with the health of their gut. To heal their brain you first need to heal the gut. Diet becomes very important here because if your child has food intolerances or is regularly consuming chemicals (such as artificial colours, flavours and additives) that we unknowingly feed them in processed food, an alert is constantly being sent to their main brain and eventually cause changes to how it functions.


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Naturopathy Can Help With the following childhood conditions

Fiona provides tailored health plans based on a multitude of factors relevant to your child’s symptomology (how they are feeling), pathology (how their body is responding), plus dietary and lifestyle factors.

  • ✅ Digestive complaints – constipation, diarrhoea, loose stools, pain or bloating
  • ✅ Allergies and allergic conditions – such as asthma, eczema or hayfever
  • ✅ Poor Immunity – recurring colds or ear infections
  • ✅ Skin Conditions – rashes, eczema, acne, pimples or allergic reactions
  • ✅ Moods – anxiety, depression or mood swings Food Intolerances – identifying food reactions
  • ✅ Food Allergies – identifying food reactions
  • ✅ Growth and development issues – fussy eaters or nutritional malabsorption
  • ✅ Behavioural challenges – ADHD or others
  • ✅ Energy – poor energy or chronic fatigue
  • ✅ Picky Eaters – fussy eaters
  • ✅ Sleep – trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

What happens in a consultation

During your consultation, Fiona will seek information about your pregnancy, birth and post birth experiences. This will provide an integrated view to give a full picture of the foundations of your child’s health status. You can expect to leave your consultation with a thorough understanding of the potential contributing factors of the presenting symptoms.

Fiona will provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that incorporates possible herbal/nutritional medicine, dietary/lifestyle recommendations, recipes and handouts. Plus an overview of the consultation so you feel empowered to care for your child’s wellbeing with Fiona’s guidance.

At The Children’s Naturopath, Fiona Stock an expert in childhood health, she understands children’s needs and considers working with kids and teens to be an absolute joy. She finds that children typically respond to naturopathic treatment very well – bouncing back to good health in no time.  And she treasures the opportunity she has to teach kids about their bodies and engage them in their health journey, setting them up with strong foundations and knowledge for life.


To make an appointment with Fiona Stock, naturopath in Melbourne, Contact I’m here to assist you and your child on your journey to better children’s health.

Online Learning | Children’s Health | Melbourne Naturopath

Would you like a consultation with me at a fraction of the cost? My online learning classes are jam packed with more advice than I provide in a face-to-face appointment. It’s evidence-based naturopathic wisdom coupled with the latest scientific research on kids health I’ve successfully shared with clients over my 20+ year career.

I’ve also included cheatsheets, checklists, nourishing recipes and 25 page book of class notes.

You will learn:

  • ✅ Understand the cause if common childhood conditions (eczema, poor immunity, food allergies, food intolerances, poor focus & concentration, ADHD, behavioural problems).
  • ✅. Supporting immune function to help support allergic conditions.
  • ✅. Support optimal brain function.
  • ✅. Healthy Eating Plan – including portion size for each age-group.
  • ✅. Natural medicine recommendations,
  • ✅. Plus much more…

Fiona Stock is a Naturopath Melbourne depends on. Fiona focusses on natural therapies for children’s health.

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