In the weeks that follow, starting now, we’re going to guide you in taking simple steps to improve your gut health.
A healthy gut is essential for a healthy brain. In recent years it has become established that there are many ways in which the gut communicates with the brain, and vice versa. This includes:
Two gut-related predictors of Alzheimer’s – periodontal disease and lack of stomach secretions required for vitamin B12 absorption – illustrate this microbiome-gut-brain connection.
Decreasing production of stomach acid, required for vitamin B12 absorption, is a common occurrence in those over age 50. Two in five people over 61 have low blood levels of B12. Gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),gut infections such as H.pylori, long term use of PPI (proton pump inhibitors) antacids and antibiotics have all been implicated or associated or with increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
The intestinal gut barrier functions much like the blood-brain barrier, ideally allowing nutrients to pass while rejecting toxins and ant-nutrients. The integrity of the gut barrier is affected by alcohol, gliadin in wheat, a lack of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats which influence the microbiota. Gut inflammation may play a role in cognitive decline.
The role of the microbiome in the gut affecting cognition is a new frontier for research. While there is little clinical trial evidence yet there is a growing body of evidence that restoring gut health and eating a digestion friendly diet is correlated with and likely to be beneficial for protecting your future cognition.