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The Microbiome and Brain Health

Abstract

The gut microbiome is an emerging field in medicine. A large body of research supports the pathways of communication between the gut and the brain, relationships that are significantly impacted by the gut microbiome and probiotics. Through these pathways, the microbiota can influence brain function, neuroplasticity, and cognitive function in aging and neurodegeneration.

Understanding the complexities and regulation of the gut-brain microbiome relationship identifies key factors in brain health. The bidirectional communication influences inflammation and mental, emotional, and physical disorders.

Identifying the interactions of the central nervous system, enteric nervous system, and the immune system can significantly improve our understanding and options for treatment as it impacts psychological disorders, neurological conditions, and the aging brain.

Limitations in the current research, such as how the data from animal studies may or may not correlate in human populations, necessitate further investigation, particularly as it relates to brain health. All in all, it is probable that the microbiota profile is a useful indicator of health and environmental history of a person and that it may play a role in disease process and treatment response.

Keywords

  • Gut microbiota
  • Microbiome
  • Gut-brain axis
  • Probiotics
  • Central nervous system
  • Enteric nervous system
  • Vagus nerve
  • Dysbiosis
  • Psychobiotics
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Leaky brain

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Fig. 25.1

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Norling, S.L. (2020). The Microbiome and Brain Health. In: Noland, D., Drisko, J., Wagner, L. (eds) Integrative and Functional Medical Nutrition Therapy. Humana, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30730-1_25

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