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Importantly, the protein source in the diet animal or plant sources determines in part how the quality of a high-protein diet affects not only the fecal metabolome and gut homeostasis, but also the host urinary metabolome, with possible effects on kidney disease risk. A high-fat diet may have a negative influence on both the gut microbiota and the brain. It was found in animal models that a high-fat diet can modulate the gut-brain axis through the gut microbiota. A diet rich in saturated fatty acids has detrimental effects on the gut microbiota-characterized by lower diversity in terms of gut microbial species-and negatively influences brain function, inducing depressive-like behavior.

A novel gut microbiota-leptin-brain network of relevance to diet-dependent behavioural disorders has been identified by MyNewGut partners.

In contrast, diets rich in omega-3 or omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids do not seem to have a negative effect on the gut microbiota. In line with these observations, MyNewGut partners showed that Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum CECT reduces depressive-like behaviors associated with obesity in preclinical trials.

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Diets high in fiber are associated with lower rates of depression , they help to maintain body weight and reduce the risk of developing chronic metabolic diseases. A large clinical intervention trial with a fiber combination showed benefits on cardio-metabolic disease risk markers, reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressure in humans. Accumulated evidence from both observational and intervention studies reviewed by MyNewGut also indicated that the Mediterranean dietary pattern or modifications of it based on grains and fiber, fish and fermented foods, alongside regular aerobic exercise, could help prevent depression and non-communicable diseases.

Finally, specific gut microbial strains could emerge as the next generation of probiotics for tackling obesity. This is the case, for example, of Bacteroides uniformis CECT , which contributes to restoring obesity-related metabolic and immune dysfunction in mice. You can access the scientific publications, including in vitro , animal and human studies led by MyNewGut researchers over the last 5 years, here.

The project consortium expects to apply research findings from bench to bedside, as a means of developing effective interventions directed at the gut microbiome in order to fight obesity, metabolic syndrome and emotional disorders. Imbalances in gut microbiota composition have recently been reported in people suffering from As intriguing as this sort of research can be, it has a major limitation. Now researchers are pinpointing individual strains that seem to have an effect. To study autism, Dr.

Emotional temperament in babies associated with specific gut bacteria species

Mauro Costa-Mattioli and his colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston investigated different kinds of mice, each of which display some symptoms of autism. A mutation in a gene called SHANK3 can cause mice to groom themselves repetitively and avoid contact with other mice, for example. In another mouse strain, Dr. Costa-Mattioli found that feeding mothers a high-fat diet makes it more likely their pups will behave this way.

When the researchers investigated the microbiomes of these mice, they found the animals lacked a common species called Lactobacillus reuteri. When they added a strain of that bacteria to the diet, the animals became social again. Costa-Mattioli found evidence that L. The vagus nerve sends these signals from the gut to the brain, where they alter production of a hormone called oxytocin that promotes social bonds. Other microbial species also send signals along the vagus nerve, it turns out.

Still others communicate with the brain via the bloodstream. Mothers seed their babies with microbes during childbirth and breast feeding. During the first few years of life, both the brain and the microbiome rapidly mature. In her first study, published in January, she focused on the amygdala, the emotion-processing region of the brain that Dr. Cryan and others have found to be altered in germ-free mice. Knickmeyer and her colleagues measured the strength of the connections between the amygdala and other regions of the brain.

Babies with a lower diversity of species in their guts have stronger connections, the researchers found. Does that mean a low-diversity microbiome makes babies more fearful of others?

Our Microbes, Ourselves: Gut Bacteria's Key Role in Immunity Is Tuned to the Host Species

Knickmeyer hopes to find out by running more studies on babies. As researchers better understand how the microbiome influences the brain, they hope doctors will be able to use it to treat psychiatric and neurological conditions.

Evidence mounts that gut bacteria can influence mood, prevent depression

In the early s, neurologists found that putting people with epilepsy on a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat sometimes reduced their seizures. Epileptic mice experience the same protection from a so-called ketogenic diet. But no one could say why.

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Elaine Hsiao, a microbiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, suspected that the microbiome was the reason. Hsiao and her colleagues raised mice free of microbes. When they put the germ-free epileptic mice on a ketogenic diet, they found that the animals got no protection from seizures. But if they gave the germ-free animals stool from mice on a ketogenic diet, seizures were reduced.

Hsiao found that two types of gut bacteria in particular thrive in mice on a ketogenic diet. They may provide their hosts with building blocks for neurotransmitters that put a brake on electrical activity in the brain.

What do you think?

He has started a company that is testing a compound that may block signals that the microbe sends to the vagus nerve. Mazmanian and other researchers now must manage a tricky balancing act. Costa-Mattioli hopes that L.

‘It was considered crazy’

Some strains of L. Costa-Mattioli and his colleagues are still searching for the most effective strain and figuring out the right dose to try on people. Katarzyna B. Hooks, a computational biologist at the University of Bordeaux in France, warned that studies like Dr.