You're literally feeling things from your gut and also other organs.
Yeah it's pretty nifty.
Hey everyone. Amy with you on DNews today.
And I've got a feeling you're gonna like this episode and odds are, my gut is right on that.
So, let's start with the gut part of the whole gut feeling thing.
It's kinda gross to think about but our bodies are teeming with bacteria.
This is the microbiome you've probably heard about.
Most of those bacteria live in the gastrointestinal tract, what we colloquially refer to as the gut.
These bacteria regulate digestion and metabolism, extract vitamins and nutrients from food, and program the body's immune system.
But there's so much more going on.
This complex bacterial ecosystem has prompted the gut to evolve a complex neural network called the enteric nervous system,
which is so ridiculously sophisticated it's sometimes called the second brain.
This network of over 100 million neurons can even function when it loses connection to the brain.
And the gut brain connection goes both ways.
Gut bacteria produce neurochemicals that regulate basic physiological and mental processes influencing things like memory and mood.
And the brain affects the microbiome.
Psychological stress can suppress certain helpful bacteria, making you more likely to get sick.
This two-way communication is part of a larger network of inter-body talk.
The brain connecting to the gut through neural networks and also your ability to recognize this connection is an example of something called interoception.
This is a sense of self-identity beyond knowing what self-help books call the "real you."
It's the sensing of physiological signals that originate within the body and carry information to the brain.
Things like body temperature, breathlessness, and heart rate that ultimately give you an indication of states like hunger, thirst, pain, and anxiety.
Whether we're consciously aware that our body is sending these signals, they happen particularly when we're making risky decisions.
They send information to the brain and affect the way we make decisions so what you think of as a gut feeling is actually you responding to those subtle cues.
A recent study from the University of Cambridge took interoception into the real world and looked at its role in successful financial trading,
a career notorious for acting on gut instincts.
The researchers measured 18 male traders' abilities to detect subtle changes in their physiological state by heartbeat detection test—how well they could count their own resting heart rate without using a pulse point.
Admittedly, this is a small sample size, but these eighteen men were better able to count their heart rate than non-traders.
And within the group, those with the higher score were also better traders who survived longer in the financial world, earning more money than their less body-aware peers.
So in this case, interoceptive ability does correlate to good decisions in a risky environment but correlation isn't causation.
Just because you can pretty accurately measure your heart rate doesn't mean you will make millions trading.
Other interoceptive studies have found people's ability to detect their heart rate increases during times of stress.
So the correlation from traders could just be an awareness honed from years in the industry.
But it's also the case that professionals who practice in the field can manage their stress better.
So traders might not be experiencing the stress reaction of an increased heart rate or it could be something totally different.
Maybe successful traders of money use their downtime to work out, which could help them develop keener sense of body awareness.
In any case, the results do show a link between better body awareness to interoceptive cues and good decisions in risky environments.
So maybe there's something to be said for trusting your gut.
And speaking of guts, our guts do a lot more for us than we think.
Wanna know more? Trace has a video all about how scientists can actually program our gut bacteria to fight harmful infections.
Check it out here.
Medical researchers took it and reprogrammed the bacteria to fight P. aeruginosa.
This new synthetic E.coli is like a hunting dog tracking down P. aeruginosa and attacking its biofilms with enzymes in antimicrobial peptide. Boom! Double agent.
So how many of you guys tend to go with your gut? Let us know in the comments below.
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