An abundance of various distinct bacteria constitute the gut microbiota; the combination of which has been suggested to underlie an individual’s susceptibility to various illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, IBD and autism spectrum disorder. The influence of the gut microbiome on the functioning of the brain has piqued the interest of many and has become a well-established and rapidly accelerating field of study.
The prevalence of brain pathology and deficits has also been linked to obesity; individuals with obesity are at an increased risk of depression, dementia, strokes, learning, memory and executive function deficits. However, it has been suggested that it is the underlying factors associated with obesity, such as the balance of gut flora, which is associated with the prevalence of these brain disorders and deficits.
Prof. Christopher Taylor, Associate Professor, Microbiology, Immunology & Parasitology LSU Health Sciences Centre, New Orleans, recently demonstrated that high-fat shaped gut microbiota can adversely affect neurologic function and physiology in healthy mice. The implications of these findings are astounding; altered gut microbiota, due to an unhealthy diet could increase the prevalence of various neurological disorders and deficits, even in the absence of adiposity, metabolic syndrome, mental disorder and other illness.
One can’t help but wonder, is the treatment of these illnesses through the manipulation of gut microbiota, now within reach?