FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:
Increasing research is providing support for the proposal that our gut microbes can have a significant impact on brain function (and vice-versa).
To date, most of this evidence is from animal studies, so caution is still needed in interpreting what this may (or may not) mean for human health and disease. However, further study of the so-called gut-microbial-brain axis offers huge potential for improving our understanding of how diet and nutrition affect mental health - and could lead to the development of new and better treatments for common developmental and mental health conditions.
The potential use of 'probiotic' or 'prebiotic' supplements is becoming a huge area of interest. However, given the sheer complexity of the so-called 'gut microbiome', it is worth remembering that natural 'prebiotics' (i.e. substances that support a healthy balance of gut microbes) are found in almost all whole, minimally processed foods - particularly vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains - which provide dietary fibre along with other nutrients.
This brief news article is based on an interview with Professor John Cryan, who heads one of the leading international research teams in this field. His current research interests include the neurobiological basis of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and drug dependence.
His group is also focused on understanding the interaction between brain, gut & microbiome and how it applies to stress and immune-related disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome and obesity and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.
For more information see Prof. Cryan's research profile on the UCC website
For the related research article from his group, see:
And to be kept to date on this subject, please bookmark the following lists of articles, which are regularly updated: