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"Gut Feelings" are Real--Your Gut's Got a Brain of Its Own

Think you have gut feelings. Well, they're real! The gut contains 100 million neurons - more than the spinal cord. Major neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, norephinephrine and nitric oxide are in the gut. Also two dozen small brain proteins, called neuropeptides are there along with the major cells of the immune system. Enkephalins (a member of the endorphins family) are also in the gut. The gut also is a rich source of benzodiazepines - the family of psychoactive chemicals that includes such ever popular drugs as valium and xanax.

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