The gut or gastrointestinal tract is a profound organ. This latest study by Research Scientists from Lund University in Sweden seems to make the gut even more intriguing.
Many are coining our gastrointestinal tract as the “second brain.” It’s incredible influence on our immune system, mood and even skin can seem ludicrous. The fact that it may be on a list of “top alzheimer causes” even crazier. However, this study by Swedish Scientists revealed that the gut has a much greater impact on us than digestion alone.
Why This is Groundbreaking
To understand the powerful statement made by the findings of this study let us dig into the research. These scientists are setting out to find the cure for Alzheimer’s.
After the accomplishment of this study, this year, these Swedish Scientistes have joined others from Germany and Belgium with a $50 mil EU grant to test medications and cures. Based on the causal evidence of this study they feel confident, as do many others, that they will succeed .
What Causes Alzheimer’s
The main biomarker in Alzheimer’s patients is beta-amyloid plaque. This plaque causes degeneration in the patients brain by blocking pathways. As the plaque grows the connectivity of the brain lessens and results in Alzheimer’s. See the photo below.
So, these scientists had mice that were considered ridden with Alzheimer’s or Beta-Amyloid Plaque within the tissues of the brain. These were mice that were 8 months to 1 and a half years in age.
Then they took completely healthy mice without Beta-Amyloid plaque. These mice being at 8 months of age or less. Both groups of mice were raised with the same diet and caloric intake. With this launching point they began to do something fairly irregular.
The Gut and Alzheimer’s
At this point within the study the scientists began evaluating the stool of the Alzheimer mice. They found a completely different microbiota than that of younger species.
The mice with Alzheimer’s, although on the same diet, had a radically different bacterial composition in their gut. Then the scientists took it a step further.
They implanted the bacteria of Alzheimer’s ridden mice into 4 month old healthy specimens. There was a control group on the same diet but no implants. The group that was implanted had a 135% increase of Beta-Amyloid plaque in comparison to the control group.
A 135% increase is significant and has obviously raised the eyebrows of many. To see such a marked difference in such a young mouse by implantation of bacteria from a sick old mouse is profound.
The Gut Brain Connection
One might ask, how can our gut affect our brain in such a dramatic way? There is so much new research on this very topic.
The Vagus nerve seems to blame. This nerve, discovered within the last 40 years, reveals a direct neurological connection between the mind and the gut.
The Vagus nerve runs directly from our gut into our central nervous system and connects to the brain. This means that your mind is connected through one of the largest nerves in your body directly to the Small and Large Intestine.
Within your large intestine there are billions of nerve receptors. You can see my recent article on the connection between the gut and stress for more information.
The Second Brain?
With all of these findings many are calling your gut the second brain. Meaning, it has a significant impact on your brain health, emotional health and well being.
Your gut may be playing a large part in the way that you feel on a day to day basis. It absolutely dictates food cravings. So, who’s to say, and the latest research is, that it cannot effect your mood, your cognition and your thought processes.
If the scientists are finding that your gut flora impacts the pathways in your brain there must be something deeper that we do not understand.
What is to come?
The reality is that times are changing. What if you were to walk into your doctor and instead of prescribing an antibiotic he handed you a specific strain of probiotic for your illness? For them to point you toward good bacteria for how to help with alzheimer, may not be farfetched.
Imagine a psychiatrist telling you to eat more fermented vegetables or your practitioner recommending a fermented yogurt to ail your suffering.
What You Can Do In Light Of This Research
If you wait to take control of your gut health until the doctor starts handing out supplements or a holistic doctor shows up in your area it may be a long time. So, I recommend taking control of your health.
There are some simple things that you can start doing right now. If you don’t take one I recommend a high quality probiotic. It can start to re-seed your gut with powerful bacteria to help you now.
The truth is that many of us don’t practice the traditions of our forefathers. We have neglected for far too long to incorporate fermented foods into our diet. Whether it be a good, organic yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha, Sauerkraut or Kimchi, consumption of these foods should be regular.
Consuming probiotics daily is a must. If not for your health or immune system consider if for your mind’s health. With this research cropping up and many more like it what do you have to lose?