Excited about psychobiotics?

gut brain connection

If not you might be at some point in the future – there is a lot of hype about the psychobiotic revolution at the moment and in order to help you understand it a bit more, I will summarise the article in the Psychologist this month by Professor John Cryan:

  • Mums with high perceived stress during pregnancy have children with a different microbiome (the vast army of microbes found in our gut) from those whose mothers don’t…
  • Babies pick up microbes from the birth canal when born normally and babies born under C-section don’t – as a result they are more likely to develop autism and have an increased stress response…
  • We now have an explanation for why breastfed babies can have a higher IQ – the microbes are breaking down the complex sugars (only) found in breast milk and the microbes extract sciatic acid from these sugars which helps in brain development…
  • His studies showed that in a group of 180 old people, health outcomes were better in those who had a more diverse microbiome….and this diversity came from a diverse diet…
  • People with resistant major depression have a reduced diversity in their microbiome…
  • Healthy volunteers taking probiotics for a month, when stressed, had a different EEG signature and had a reduced positive behavioural response…
  • So we have to feed our microbes to feed our brain…
  • Unanswered (as yet) questions include – can we design interventions that improve people’s microbiome and also (as a result) improve their psychological well-being?

So, I don’t know about you, but I am going to continue to have an actimel every day (so don’t be vegan!)