If you think your gut is trying to tell you something, you might want to listen. You might have a connection between your brain and your gut that makes you react the way you do. Gut-brain axis: There may be some connection between your brain and your gut health, and vice versa. It is called the “gut-brain axis.” Here’s how studies are linking the two. (1)

Understanding Microbiome And Brain Health

Your microbiome develops at birth, consisting of trillions of microbes living in your gut. It changes as you age, and these changes have been linked to many diseases, including disorders of the metabolism, autoimmune system, stomach, and brain. Once we hit middle age, the microbiota tends to stabilize. However, it can still be impacted by factors varying from your location to how often you exercise and from diet to taking medications like antibiotics. These influences play a key role when looking at the gut-brain axis and possible treatments or prevention of brain disorders. (2,3,4,1)

How Do The Microbiome And Brain Health Connect?

Gut/brain communication happens directly and indirectly via several routes, including: (1)

  • Central and enteric nervous systems
  • Vagus nerve
  • Endocrine and immunoinflammatory systems
  • Modulation of neurotransmitters

Other contributions include diet, which plays an essential role in gut microbiota, and how it supports nutritional bioavailability. Research focuses on the effects of the gut-brain communication systems using DNA sequencing technology to screen gut bacteria and how it communicates using these pathways. (1)

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Microbiome

With so many factors affecting the microbiome, the composition of the microbial profile differs significantly for each person. However, when the microbiome is healthy, it helps maintain the healthy function of many systems. On the other hand, an unhealthy gut contributes to metabolic, autoimmune, and brain disorders. A good example is a condition known as “leaky gut.” It occurs due to a failure of the mucosal gut barrier to block potentially harmful molecules from entering the bloodstream. These molecules can cause inflammatory responses in the body. Without a standard to tell a healthy microbiome from a bad one, the health of an individual’s microbiota has to be compared to their “normal” state to figure out how healthy they are. (1,5)

Microbiome And Brain Health Issues

Here is a breakdown of how studies are linking the microbiome with brain health:

  • Brain Disorders: Early life disruptions, such as stress or severe illness during pregnancy, have been linked to damage to the gut/brain signaling and brain disorders that appear later in life. It includes schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, and distinct cognitive and behavioral symptoms. (1,6,7)
  • Neurologic Disease: Gut disturbances have been linked to neurologic disorders caused by what is believed to be a misfolding of proteins in the brain. It is possibly related to brain inflammation originating from the gut. It can include MS, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s. (8,1)
  • Psychiatric Disorders: Depression and other psychological disorders could also be related to the gut. For example, the amount of serotonin in the gut makes looking at the influence of the gut microbiota on serotonin’s precursor, tryptophan, worth delving into. Evidence has also linked damage to the gut with depression, schizophrenia, and autism. (9,1,10,11)

These are just some examples of research supporting the link between the microbiome and brain health. If you want to help maintain a healthy microbiome, click here for healthy recipes.


  1. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/841748_1?fbclid=IwAR30H6TAQ3ZSm8l2jY3FLLK0PHfBRFqJwg-LqfcwBbCxBb9MnbJagKfezv8
  2. https://reference.medscape.com/medline/abstract/24584251
  3. https://reference.medscape.com/medline/abstract/23814609
  4. https://reference.medscape.com/medline/abstract/23000955
  5. https://reference.medscape.com/medline/abstract/11343523 
  6. https://reference.medscape.com/medline/abstract/24956966
  7. https://reference.medscape.com/medline/abstract/21684749
  8. https://reference.medscape.com/medline/abstract/21810417
  9. https://reference.medscape.com/medline/abstract/22410503
  10. https://reference.medscape.com/medline/abstract/22410503
  11. https://reference.medscape.com/medline/abstract/25240858 

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