The microbiome and the brain
The presence of healthy bacteria in your gut has been known to help with digestion and many other aspects of gut health. However, you may be surprised to know that these same microbes can also affect the health of your brain!
The collection of microbes found in all individuals is known as the microbiome. The microbiome produces many molecules that can travel and talk to the brain directly. The molecules do so by acting on certain brain cell receptors or acting as signals to activate the body’s immune system. When the body’s immune system (a system that protects the body from infections) reacts to the chemical messages produced by the microbiome, brain cells are affected. These reactions, in turn, result in changes in brain health.
Some of these immune cells include microglia, a type of brain cell that is particularly sensitive to molecules produced by the microbiome. In fact, researchers suggest that microglia play a critical role in early brain development, by shaping how neurons grow and form the connections that create our fully functioning brains.
Interestingly, as your diet is ultimately what affects the microbiome, it would seem that the old adage, “you are what you eat”, had it right all along; especially with respect to the brain!
For more cool resources on this topic, be sure to check out the links below: