New Study on the Gut-Brain Axis (Im Back?)

by Paleo Rob on 18/04/2016

So there is a new study about Gut Bacteria. I still think gut-bacteria is the next frontier of medicine, and the more studies that come out like this one, make me believe it even more. The Guardian has the right up.

Interesting throughout, but some key parts, emphasis mine.

Far from being silent partners that merely help to digest food, the bacteria in your gut may also be exerting subtle influences on your thoughts, moods, and behaviour

Last year, they published evidence that germ-free mice, which are completely devoid of gut bacteria, exhibit altered gene expression in the amygdala, a small, almond-shaped brain structure that is critical regulating emotions and social behaviour. The animals were reared in highly sterile conditions, so that bacteria cannot colonise their guts after birth – as a result certain genes involved in neuronal function appear to more active in their brains compared to those of normal mice.

The process of myelination, by which myelin is formed and laid down around axons, is crucial for development and maturation of the brain. During adolescence, the brain undergoes a protracted period of heightened neural plasticity, during which large numbers of synapses are eliminated in the prefrontal cortex, and a wave of myelination sweeps across this part of the brain. These processes refine the circuitry in the prefrontal cortex, and increase its connectivity to other brain regions. The increased plasticity make adolescents more susceptible to risky behaviour and mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, however.

The results have wider implications, though. There is growing evidence that the distribution of myelin in the brain can be modified in response to experience, and Cryan points to a 2012 study showing that social isolation impairs myelination in the prefrontal cortex of adult mice. The new findings therefore offer tantalizing clues about how gut bacteria might regulate brain plasticity in response to isolation and other social factors or environmental stimuli.

The last sentence is truly thought-provoking, and really show-cases the synchronous pathway of the axis. 

So eat your sauerkraut and kimchi, and have some yoghurt and kefir people! 

We still don’t know how good it is for you, but we know that it is…

 

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