Many of you know that a leaky gut can lead to a number of symptoms and conditions.
And, without a doubt, you’ve heard of the gut-brain axis.
The gut and brain are closely connected—so much so that research is suggesting gut changes could indicate a debilitating disease is lurking in the shadows…
Even among those who appear outwardly healthy.
Don’t let this go undetected
Prior studies have shown gut changes in people with symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
But now, a new study suggests certain gut changes could indicate Alzheimer’s even among cognitively “normal,” or asymptomatic, people.
In other words, these people have AD without even knowing it!
Researchers analyzed the types of bacteria living in the guts of 164 older subjects between the ages 68 to 94. Participants were also tested for amyloid and tau, two proteins with links to AD, and they were asked to complete cognitive function tests.
This helped researchers identify those with clinical signs of Alzheimer’s, who did not yet show outward signs of cognitive decline.
Then, using fecal samples, the bacteria found in the guts of Alzheimer’s patients were compared to “cognitively normal” peers.
Turns out, those in early stages of the disease, also known as preclinical Alzheimer’s, had more overall and specific differences in the gut microbiome.
Namely, they had more bacteria involved in breaking down the amino acids arginine and ornithine, involved in protein buildup, as well as glutamate, which helps protect neurons.
Breakthrough screening… and treatment?
There are so many things we just don’t yet know about the brain and the gut. And even with these findings, I can’t help but wonder…
Which came first—the amyloid or the gut alterations?
This also makes me wonder if amyloid is a marker for AD, not the cause of the disease, similar to cholesterol.
My suppositions are for another day, but this study suggests there are changes within the gut VERY EARLY ON in the disease process, which could lead to early intervention.
And, especially when it comes to AD… the earlier the detection, the better.
This research team predicts that certain bacterial species proliferate in the gut, which leads to a breakdown of the gut epithelium (a fancy term for “leaky gut syndrome”), resulting in inflammation.
Well, well, well… doesn’t it always come down to inflammation?
At the end of the day, these findings are promising. They indicate that stool tests could be an early screening tool for AD. Not to mention, a potential treatment breakthrough. (Complete microbiome makeover, anyone?)
Alzheimer’s is a scary diagnosis and no one wants to become a victim. So, anything we can do to prevent or treat it is needed now, more than ever. To learn more, check out my online learning tool, my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Plan.
“When Gut Bacteria May Be an Early Sign of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Time, 06/14/2023. (time.com/6287229/gut-alzheimers-connection-microbiome-bacteria/)