COMMENTARY

The Microbiome and Brain Health: What's the Connection?

Sarah R. Dash

Disclosures

March 24, 2015

In This Article

Future Directions

Understanding the role of the gut microbiota in neurologic and psychiatric disorders is an exciting prospect, with both conditions contributing significantly to individuals' quality of life and to global disease burden. Identifying measurable and modifiable microbial "therapies" presents a valuable opportunity for new prevention and treatment strategies for brain disorders.

The possibility of being able to prevent or alleviate neurologic or psychiatric conditions through lifestyle interventions has significant public health implications. However, a full understanding of the gut/brain connection and its health implications is still evolving, and quality clinical trials are needed that include assessments of immune, inflammatory, and gut biomarkers to elucidate the function, behavior, and modifiability of bacteria living in the gut.

Of note, the etiology of neurologic and psychiatric disorders is highly complex and varied; it would be an oversimplification to imply that microbial modification is a cure-all solution. However, general health recommendations remain true. Exercising moderately and consuming a varied diet of whole foods, including lots of fruit and vegetables, can benefit not only your physical health, but also gut health and the health of your brain.

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