When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is
to be alive, to breathe,
to think, to enjoy,
- Marcus Aurelius
How important are probiotics, anti-inflammatory supplements and herbs for our health?
There are about 40 trillion microorganisms in the human gut. They help us digest food and produce metabolites necessary for the functioning of our body, like B-vitamins and short chain fatty acids. They control infections by pathogens, regulate the immune system, and control our emotions. The delicate balance of these microorganisms gets disturbed by improper diet, drugs, stress, unhealthy sleep habits. That leads to inflammation, chronic and auto-immune diseases, but is most often not recognized and treated as the root cause.
“The human body hosts an enormous abundance and diversity of microbes, which perform a range of essential and beneficial functions. Our appreciation of the importance of these microbial communities to many aspects of human physiology has grown dramatically in recent years. We know, for example, that animals raised in a germ-free environment exhibit substantially altered immune and metabolic function, while the disruption of commensal microbiota in humans is associated with the development of a growing number of diseases. Evidence is now emerging that, through interactions with the gut–brain axis, the bidirectional communication system between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract, the gut microbiome can also influence neural development, cognition and behavior, with recent evidence that changes in behavior alter gut microbiota composition, while modifications of the microbiome can induce depressive-like behaviors. Although an association between enteropathy and certain psychiatric conditions has long been recognized, it now appears that gut microbes represent direct mediators of psychopathology. Here, we examine roles of gut microbiome in shaping brain development and neurological function, and the mechanisms by which it can contribute to mental illness. Further, we discuss how the insight provided by this new and exciting field of research can inform care and provide a basis for the design of novel, microbiota-targeted, therapies.
In this review, we consider the potential of dysbiosis to contribute to psychopathology and the evidence linking disruption of gut microbiota with specific psychiatric disorders. We examine the role of the microbiome in neurological development and regulation, and consider its contribution to aging-related morbidity. Finally, we discuss the potential for modification of the gut microbiome to provide clinical benefit in the context of altered brain function.”
Read this expert review (written by GB Rogers, DJ Keating, RL Young, M-L Wong, J Licinio and S Wesselingh) here to learn more about:
- Regulation of neurological function by the gut microbiome
- The microbiome in specific psychiatric conditions
- Treatment interactions with the microbiome in mental illness
- The role of the microbiome in brain development
- Mechanisms of interaction
- The role of the microbiome in age-related cognitive decline
- Modification of the gut microbiota to affect therapeutic change