Writing Exercise #12

Prompt: Describe how microbial communities in the body could influence brain and mental health states. Then describe how brain and mental health states could influence microbial communities in the body. In what ways might these promote health and/or disease?

Many people might be surprised to know that the gut is considered to be the “second brain” of the body because it can operate on its own and communicate back and forth with your actual brain. With this being said the gut microbiome has been shown to have an impact in mental health. With a vast amount of research being done throughout the advancement of science and microbiology we have been able to find out that the microbiome could certainly influence brain and mental health states, given all of its functions. Research in animals has shown that changes in the gut microbiome and inflammation in the gut affect the brain and further cause symptoms that look like Parkinson’s disease, autism, anxiety and depression.

Furthermore, studies have also shown that the state of your mental health has been shown to affect your gut microbiome. A study highlighting bone marrow mediated pathway research showed the role that immune cells play as messengers that convey psychological stress to the gut. This allowed researchers to understand how stress can affect health through its impact on gut bacteria through autonomic and circulatory systems carrying distress signals to the gut.

Sources:

Yang T, Ahmari N, Schmidt JT, Redler T, Arocha R, Pacholec K, Magee KL, Malphurs W, Owen JL, Krane GA: Shifts in the gut microbiota composition due to depleted bone marrow beta Adrenergic signaling are associated with suppressed inflammatory transcriptional networks in the mouse colon. Front Physiol 2017, 8:220. 

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