In the scientific publication, “Influence of Tryptophan and Serotonin on Mood and Cognition with a Possible Role of the Gut-Brain Axis.” (2016) in the 8th volume and 56th issue of Nutrients, authors Jenkins, Nguyen, Polglaze and Bertrand explain how the amino acids Tryptophan and Serotonin affect depression, anxiety, sleep, memory and more through the gut-brain axis. This is a summary and interpretation of their findings.
The direct link between the intestines (gut) and the brain through the vagus nerve and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) is a hot topic in scientific circles right now. The idea that the food we eat and the microbes that live in our gut may actually impact our mood, behavior and social interactions is like the proverbial caveman’s discovery of fire! We can now say that the link exists between the gut and brain, flowing both ways with one affecting the other and vice-versa.
TRYPTOPHAN & SEROTONIN
It has long been known that the neurotransmitter, serotonin, is involved in the “happy” mood or feeling that we experience. This is why low serotonin levels in the brain result in depression and so much more. Well, we don’t get serotonin from simply eating it. Our bodies have to make it. The amino acid, tryptophan, is actually the starting molecule for making serotonin. It is an amino acid that our body must have in order to make proteins in our cells.
In the scientific publication, “Gut Microbiome, Metabolome, and Allergic Disease,” in the 66th volume of Allergology International, authors Hirata and Kunisawa explain how they have found a link between the food you eat and the products made by your gut bacteria that affect your overall health. This is a summary and interpretation of their findings.
NUT-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE…
How many times a week do you encounter a person with some sort of food allergy, or allergies in general? For me, it’s daily. Maybe they are lactose intolerant, or gluten-free, or peanut-free. Some people cannot eat raw vegetables without gas and bloating. My parents say, “it never used to be this way.” Back when I was starting kindergarten, we didn’t have “nut free” classrooms, or hallways. Schools could have ice cream parties without thinking twice about who cannot have lactose (or, really the protein casein that is in milk). How did we get here? What has changed in our society in one generation?
Now that we find ourselves at the end of 2017, fully in the middle of a tsunami wave of new scientific information on gut microbes and how they directly affect our health, researchers are building a case for the connection between the food we eat and the impact it has on our gut microbes. These gut microbes break down your food and make products from it. Some of the products are healthy and some are bad. This study shows what is happening in the guts of people with allergies, and especially food allergies.
In the scientific publication, "Alzheimer's Disease and Gut Microbiota" published in the 59th volume, 10th issue of the Journal, Science China Life Science, (2016) authors Hu,X, Wang, T, and Jin, F present the possible links between gut microbes and Alzheimer's Disease. This is a summary and interpretation of their findings.
THE ALZHEIMER’S CRISIS
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia affecting memory, thinking and behavior. It is a progressive disease, increasing in risk with age. Current knowledge is that it is irreversible.
This topic is “near and dear” to my heart. When I was a child, my Great Uncle committed suicide because he found out that he had Alzheimer’s Disease. At the time, my viewpoint of this tragedy was that of a child. I didn’t understand why he chose to do that. Now that I’m an adult and I understand more, it breaks my heart to know how he must have been feeling to make such a decision.
I know he is not alone. According to the Alzheimer’s Association:
MAYBE GUT BACTERIA?
In the past, the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease has focused on genetics and environment (lifestyle, hazardous materials, etc…). Scientists are now starting to question if the gut microbes play a role, as well. The rapid increase in Alzheimer’s diagnoses in recent years suggest that something more
Kenda Rigdon, Ph.D. Nutrition Sciences Research Associate, Wife, Mother of 3 and Enthusiast for all things Microbiome and gut related!
Check out this blog in the April, 2018 edition of the Birmingham Metro magazine: b-metro.com/b-yourself-kenda-rigdon/34337/
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