What does the Gut-Brain Axis Have to do with Alzheimer’s?
Restoring Balance with Probiotics
Probiotics or “friendly bacteria” are live bacteria and yeasts that live in the gut. They support the immune system and destroy “unfriendly bacteria”. All of us have taken antibiotics several times in our life and that increases our chances of being depleted of probiotics. Sure antibiotics can help us feel better when we are suffering from an infection, but did you also know that antibiotics destroy all your good gut bacteria while killing the bad bugs that are making you sick? This leaves your digestive system out of whack . Other drugs that also rob your gut of good bacteria include birth control pills, pain medication, and anti-inflammatories.
When your gut microbiome is out of balance many disturbing things can happen. You may have depleted energy, poor skin, frequent colds and flu, foggy thinking, stunted metabolism and a host of other conditions. Some scientists even say that an unhealthy gut can eventually lead to heart disease, obesity, asthma, dementia and even cancer.
When you have a war happening in your gut, it results in compromised health, both physical and mental. Don’t despair, there are many things you can do to restore your microbiome balance.
Brain Function Improvement
A research team in Iran gave Alzheimer’s patients a probiotic drink every day for 12 weeks. They measured the difference in their test scores before and after treatment. Compared with the placebo group, the patients who were given the probiotics made small improvements.
These results add to a previous body of research that suggests there’s a connection between gut health and brain function. Further, this research could lead to new treatments and insights for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.[the_ad id=”1275″]
The randomized, controlled trial (RCT) looked at whether probiotic supplements can improve cognitive function. Incidentally, they also investigated the effect of probiotics on biomarkers for inflammation and metabolism in the body. Sixty (60) Alzheimer’s patients with a mean age of 80 were recruited. They were then randomly assigned to two groups. The control group received plain milk and the other group received 200 ml of probiotic milk containing the bacterial strains Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus fermentum.
Researchers used a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) to measure the patient’s’ cognitive functions. This exam consists of a 30-point questionnaire. Additionally, it assesses abilities such as attention, calculation, recall, language and the ability to follow simple instructions.
The 12-week treatment with probiotic supplements resulted in an improvement in the MMSE score of +27.9%, compared with a decrease of -5.03% in the control group. Further, it means that the control group deteriorated from 8.47 to 8.00 while those taking probiotics improved from 8.67 to 10.57. In addition, researchers also noted a positive influence on a range of other blood markers.
The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis
The microbiota-gut-brain axis is a biochemical signaling pathway that runs between the brain and the digestive system. This is an important link between the gut and the brain. Broadly defined, the gut-brain axis includes the central nervous system, neuroendocrine and neuroimmune systems.
Further, the molecules that they produce can act as signals that the brain can detect. In addition to producing brain-altering substances, gut bacteria can also influence the brain and central nervous system by controlling inflammation and hormone production.