The gut is so powerful, many call it ‘the second brain’.

In 2011, Dr Premsyl Berick, an associate professor of gastroenterology at McMaster University, conducted an experiment on mice to gauge just how powerful the bacteria in the gut is.

Berick and his colleagues gave a group of BALB/C mice – a strain of lab-bred mice known for their timidness – a mixture of antibiotics designed to dramatically alter the composition of the bacteria in their guts. This study completely changed the mindset and behaviour of the mice who became bold, adventurous and risk-taking. The drastic change in their guts also boosted their brain-function, their memory and their mood.

Once the mice stopped receiving the antibiotics, they reverted to their old timid ways.

Indeed, our stomach is a lot more important than we may assume. After all, as the home to over 100 million neurons, the gut is the only organ to have its own independent nervous system. Moreover, the gastrointestinal system is intrinsically linked to the brain via the vagus nerve.

In fact, the connection between our gut and our brain is so powerful that researchers around the world are using fecal transplant in clinical trials in order to combat symptoms of major depressive disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder and multiple sclerosis.

A rebel entrepreneur will make decisions not solely based on their logic but their gut feeling too. In business, it may feel like everything – including your mind – is telling you to do one thing, but your gut says otherwise.

A gut feeling is far from an unexplainable phenomenon. It’s a signal from a complex system that plays a crucial role in the way we think and function. It’s our second brain and we should treat it as such.

If you feel something is not right – it probably isn’t – listen to your gut.

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