Gut bacteria influence thinking. Scientists have discovered a connection between the microbiome and brain health.

Gut bacteria influence thinking. Scientists have discovered a connection between the microbiome and brain health.

Want a sharp mind? Take care of your gut bacteria, advise scholars. They have just demonstrated that these bacteria affect intellectual fitness.


The impact of gut bacteria on health is the subject of numerous studies. This collection of microbes is referred to as the microbiome, microbiota, or gut flora. Generally, a greater diversity of the microbiome is associated with better health. This applies not only to the intestines but to the entire human body.

Research conducted by scholars from the University of North Carolina shows that the microbiome also affects brain health. The findings were published in the scientific journal "JAMA Network Open".

The more diverse the gut bacteria, the better the intellectual fitness. In the study, data obtained from nearly 600 middle-aged individuals (48-60 years old) was considered. They participated in the research project Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA). It turned out that there is a correlation between microbiome diversity and good intellectual fitness of the subjects.

"Our study confirms the relationship between brain function and gut flora. Similar results were obtained earlier, including in animal studies. It is known that the intestines significantly affect the brain through neural, metabolic, and immune system pathways," comments Dr. Katie Meyer from the University of North Carolina, one of the authors of the study.

Three types of bacteria most strongly associated with brain function Analyses revealed that the strongest relationship with good intellectual fitness is held by three types of bacteria:

Barnesiella, Lachnospiraceae FCS020, Akkermansia. On the other hand, the presence of Sutterella bacteria was negatively associated with cognitive abilities. "From previous studies, we know that a diverse microbiome reduces the risk of chronic inflammatory conditions in the body. This can also have a protective effect on the brain," says Dr. Meyer.

What is the connection between the gut and the brain? Our digestive system contains the second largest cluster of neurons in our body - at least 100 million cells, and some researchers even talk about a fivefold higher number. Gut neurons can produce numerous neurotransmitters, such as dopamine or serotonin.

"A rich network of nerve endings in the gut wall sends signals to the brain via the vagus nerve. Scientific studies conducted on rodents show that such signal transmission affects the development of cognitive abilities and mood," writes in the book "Missing Microbes. The Missing Link to Health and the Bitter Truth About Antibiotic Overuse" Prof. Martin J. Blaser from the New York University School of Medicine.

"Neurons belonging to the gut nervous system remain in regular contact with the microbes living in the gut. In every respect, this communication is very active. Many gut microbes are capable of producing substances essential for the proper functioning of the developing brain," he adds.

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