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  • Zuzia Boguslawska

The link between gut microbiota and Alzheimer’s disease

Each of us has a unique gut bacteria profile that plays role in digesting food, making vitamins, strengthening the immune system, and protecting against germs. The bacteria composition in the human gut is forming in the early stages of our lives, but their role isn't less significant in older age. Clinical data confirms the key relationship between the microorganisms and Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis.

What affects our bacteria

To put it simply, the more gut bacteria, the better. The reduction in gut flora diversity is linked to insulin resistance, weight gain, inflammation, obesity, and cancer. So how can we keep our bacteria as abundant as possible? A plant-based diet rich in whole foods improves the health of your gut microbes. While high-fiber foods and probiotic foods feed healthy microorganisms, animal products enhance the growth of 'bad' bacteria linked to chronic disease. Additionally, antibiotics that we use to treat diseases caused by bacteria, kill not only the bad gut bacteria but also the good ones. Finally, even short-term sleep deprivation increases stress levels, which negatively affects the gut causing bloating, inflammation and changes to the microbiome. All the alterations are detected by our central nervous system as the brain and the gut are connected via the gut-brain axis.

Gut microbiota in disease

The bacteria living in our gut produce metabolites with anti-inflammatory functions and proteins with pro-inflammatory properties. These are used as markers in identifying disease. According to neurologist Giovanni Frisoni, gut microbiota composition in patients with Alzheimer's disease is altered, compared to people who do not suffer from such disorders. It was found that certain bacterial products, especially those with pro-inflammatory properties, are correlated with the amyloid plaques in the brain, which are at the origin of the neurodegenerative disorders characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. The association between gut bacteria and deposits in the brain is most likely to occur through inflammation in the blood. This discovery opens a potential way for protective measurements against dementia. Pre-biotics to feed the 'good' bacteria in our gut could help to delay the onset of the disease. However, scientists need to find out what bacteria ‘cocktail’ works in that way.

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