The Link Between the Brain and the Gut
  • The gut affects our mood more than we think. Did you know that 72% of people who suffer digestive discomfort from time to time say that it affects them emotionally? 31% say that they’re not at their best, 25% say that they’re bad tempered and 15% feel unattractive1
  • 95% of serotonin, the body’s feel good hormone, is produced in the gut2
  • The intestine can be regarded as a sensory organ as it sends messages to your brain3. Did you know that the digestive system is home to up 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system?
  • Bloating is the most common digestive discomfort4 and affects 36% of the general population5
  • The adult stomach can expand up to four times its normal size after a large meal holding nearly 2 litres of food6
  • Belly distension can increase abdominal girth by up to 12cm over the course of a day7
Facts about the Digestive System
  • The human stomach produces about 2.5 litres of gastric juice every day
  • Your intestine harbours around 100 trillion bacteria of 400 different species
  • The human stomach produces a new layer of mucous lining every two weeks, otherwise the stomach will digest itself
  • Muscles contract in waves to move the food down the esophagus. This means that food would still get to a person's stomach even if they were standing on their head
  • In an average person, it takes 8 seconds for food to travel down the food pipe where it then spends about 3-5 hours in small intestine and 3-4 days in the large intestine
  • The human body takes about 6 hours to digest a high fat meal and takes 2 hours for a carbohydrate meal
  • Your digestive tract is probably about 9 meters long!
  • You feel hungry because your body receives signals that your cells need energy
  • Constipation occurs in up to 20% of population, is more common in women and becomes more common as we get older8
  • The final part of the digestion, transit through the colon, takes 30-40 hours9. When transit gets slower, it can lead to constipation.
  • The average person breaks wind 15 times a day10 and passes about 600 cc per day but there is great variation, and can be up to 2 litres a day in some healthy people11. Men pass more wind than women – men (average 18 times a day), women (average 12 times a day)12.

Pretty fascinating, don’t you find? Download a copy of these facts to have handy!


1U&A data survey of 9004 women worldwide, TNS 2010 for Danone
2Doe-Young and Camilleri; Serotonin: A mediator of the gut-brain connection; American Journal of Gastroenterology; 2000
3H. Ahlman; The gut as the largest endocrine organ in the body; Annals of Oncology 12 (Suppl. 2): S63-S68, 2001.
4A Agrawal & P J Whorewell; Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics issue 27; 2008
5Chang; Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics; volume 20; 2004
6Rohrig; 24 Hours: Your Food on the Move; ChemMatters; February 2012
7Houghton LA, Lea R, Agrawal A - relationship of abdominal bloating to distention in IBS and effect bowel habit: Gastrenterology 2006;131:1003-10
8Thompson et al; Functional bowel disorders and functional abdominal pain; Gut; 1999
9Proano M, Camilleri M, Phillips SF, etc. Transit of solids through the human colon: regional quantification in the unprepared bowel. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 258:856, 1990.
10NHS (
11McKay LF, Eastwood MA, Brydon WG. Methane excretion in man - a study of breath, flatus and faeces. Gut 1985; 26:69-74, Levitt MD, Bond JH. Flatulence. Ann Rev Med 1980; 31:127-37; Haderstorfer B, Whitehead WE. Intestinal gas production from fermentation of undigested carbohydrate in irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterology 1989; 84:375-8. (cited by http:/

Enhancing lifelong health

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation believes our ability to help establish, enrich and protect a healthy gut microbiota is the key to lifelong health