LOS ANGELES, Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Gut health is critical to overall health. The proper quality, quantity and composition of your gut flora promotes normal gastrointestinal function, provides protection from infection, regulates metabolism and comprises more than 75 percent of our immune system. Impaired and/or abnormal gut flora has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoimmune conditions and inflammatory bowel disease (IBS). Proper gut flora helps produce vital neurochemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, as well as important vitamins that keep your brain healthy, maintain the integrity of your gut lining and prevent leaky gut. Leaky gut increases inflammation, which is the basis of practically all brain disorders, from Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis (MS) to Parkinson's and autism. According to magnesium expert Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, "Chronic low-grade inflammation, sustained by excessive belly fat, a poor diet including processed foods and sugars, a magnesium deficiency (over 75 percent of Americans fail to meet their minimum daily requirement of magnesium), lack of exercise, smoking and gum disease, may explain why lifestyle-related diseases such as leaky gut syndrome, IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases are so prevalent in our society." In a 2015 animal study, a magnesium-deficient diet altered gut microbiota and was associated with altered anxiety-like behavior. In an earlier breakthrough study entitled "Magnesium and the Inflammatory Response . . .," 2 according to Dr. Dean, "This study shows that at the cellular level magnesium reduces inflammation. In the animal model used, magnesium deficiency is created when an inflammatory condition is produced. Increasing magnesium intake decreases the inflammation." Dr. Dean adds, "With magnesium being actively required by 600-700 enzyme systems in the human body, internal functions that reduce inflammation with the help of magnesium are being newly discovered every year. For example, magnesium has been found to be a natural calcium channel blocker, which is crucial because calcium in excess is one of the most pro-inflammatory substances in the body. This is why I recommend a 1:1 balance of calcium with magnesium, while also taking into account the amount of calcium people get in their daily diets." Dr. Dean recommends that one of the best ways to address gut inflammation is to avoid yeast-producing foods, such as sugar, gluten and dairy.