If you want to stay healthy, you need a healthy gut.
The bacteria that reside there play a critical role in protecting your body from all sorts of threats. (There’s a reason why there are more bacterial cells in our body than human cells.)
The truth is, a healthy gut can help fend off everyday illness to even the deadliest of health threats.
And now, research shows it offers significant protection against one increasingly common threat…
Gut health and cognitive function go hand-in-hand
According to a new study, having a diverse, healthy gut microbiome is associated with better cognitive function in middle age.
These results come from a 30-year follow-up examination of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. Researchers conducted cognitive testing and analyzed stool samples in over 600 middle-aged adults.
Three microbial analyses were performed: within-person gut bacterial diversity, between-person beta-diversity, and individual taxa (where they analyzed specific bacteria and bacterial populations).
Ultimately, researchers found that three bacterial species showed a positive connection with performance on at least one cognitive test. Meanwhile, one species showed a negative association.
Of course, these findings don’t surprise me. We have previously discussed this “gut-brain” connection.
But the study authors said: “Communication pathways between gut bacteria and neurologic function (referred to as the ‘gut-brain axis’) have emerged as a novel area of research into potential mechanisms regulating brain health through immunologic, metabolic, and endocrine pathways.”
Novel? For whom!?
There have been numerous studies showing an association between gut microbial population and neurological outcomes, including cognitive function and dementia.
I’ve written about those studies right here in my Reality Health Check e-letter and in my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter. (Check out the October 2020 issue specifically for more details about your gut and brain.)
And if you’ve been following me for a while, you know I love to talk about gut health. (I was one of the first to talk about the benefits of healthy bacteria. I even wrote a book about it!)
Get better gut health starting today
The bottom line is this: Without a healthy gut, our bodies will not function.
Your gut helps control systemic inflammation. And inflammation is the root cause of disease. (It affects our entire body, including our brains!)
Inflammation also influences the production of metabolites—many of which come from our diet—that impact the brain, including tryptophan and short-chain fatty acids. In other words, what you eat matters.
That’s why I always advocate for a healthy, balanced, Mediterranean-type diet full of lean protein, fresh produce, and nuts. (Check out my A-List Diet for additional guidance.)
I also routinely recommend a daily probiotic that contains prebiotics and postbiotics. (Remember, quality of strains matters more than quantity.)
And finally, I encourage you to get enough exercise. Research shows regular movement can help improve overall cognition—and even reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Start small if you need to and work your way up to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, weekly.
Because while we may not know exactly how our little hitchhiking bugs work just yet, we do know there are modifiable risk factors to enhance brain health.
So, please… take my advice seriously so you can relive your happy memories for as long as possible.
“Healthy Gut Tied to Better Cognition.” Medscape, 02/18/2022. (medscape.com/viewarticle/968822)