Metabolic Brain Disease

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Diet, gut microbiota and cognition

  • Cicely Proctor
  • Parameth Thiennimitr
  • Nipon Chattipakorn
  • Siriporn C Chattipakorn
Review Article


The consumption of a diet high in fat and sugar can lead to the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline. In the human gut, the trillions of harmless microorganisms harboured in the host’s gastrointestinal tract are called the ‘gut microbiota’. Consumption of a diet high in fat and sugar changes the healthy microbiota composition which leads to an imbalanced microbial population in the gut, a phenomenon known as “gut dysbiosis”. It has been shown that certain types of gut microbiota are linked to the pathogenesis of obesity. In addition, long-term consumption of a high fat diet is associated with cognitive decline. It has recently been proposed that the gut microbiota is part of a mechanistic link between the consumption of a high fat diet and the impaired cognition of an individual, termed “microbiota-gut-brain axis”. In this complex relationship between the gut, the brain and the gut microbiota, there are several types of gut microbiota and host mechanisms involved. Most of these mechanisms are still poorly understood. Therefore, this review comprehensively summarizes the current evidence from mainly in vivo (rodent and human) studies of the relationship between diet, gut microbiota and cognition. The possible mechanisms that the diet and the gut microbiota have on cognition are also presented and discussed.


Obesity A high fat/high sugar diet Cognition Gut microbiota 



This work was supported by Thailand Research Fund grants: TRF-BRG 5780016 (SC) and TRG5880041 (PT); the National Research Council of Thailand (SC); a NSTDA Research Chair Grant from the National Science and Technology Development Agency Thailand (NC) and the Chiang Mai University Center of Excellence Award (NC).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cicely Proctor
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Parameth Thiennimitr
    • 5
  • Nipon Chattipakorn
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Siriporn C Chattipakorn
    • 2
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.Faculty of Life SciencesThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Neurophysiology Unit, Cardiac Electrophysiology Research and Training Center, Faculty of MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  3. 3.Cardiac Electrophysiology Unit, Department of Physiology, Faculty of MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  4. 4.Center of Excellence in Cardiac Electrophysiology ResearchChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  5. 5.Department of Microbiology, Faculty of MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  6. 6.Department of Oral Biology and Diagnostic Sciences, Faculty of DentistryChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand

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