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Microbes and Cognition – An Unexpected Link

Jun 15, 2023Mental Health0 comments

Bacteria can make or break your health. And, I’m not just talking about disease. No, I mean the bacteria we all have. Specifically, I’m talking about our gut biomes. Today, I’m guiding you through the ins and outs of microbes and cognition.

Microbes can affect your mood and mental health. As such, your cognition follows suit. Like hearing loss, your gut bacteria can influence learning, memory, and more. Therefore, it’s not something we can overlook.

So, let’s fix that.

Bacteria-infecting viruses, gut microbiome, and cognition

More research has linked the gut microbiome and neurological health. One intriguing study focused on bacteria-infecting viruses. I’m talking about bacteriophages: viruses that target bacteria.

It found a negative correlation between these viruses’ levels and executive function. Primarily, the researchers focused on learning and information retention.

Curiously, that’s related to Microviridae, a type of bacteriophage. On the other hand, we have Caudovirales. These viruses correlated positively with the same cognitive functions. In other words, some viruses may disrupt cognition. Yet, other viruses might help it.

Though, it’s worth noting that the study is purely correlational. The authors attempted to prove causality. Unfortunately, the associations lack more backup. Thus, clinical trials and follow-up research are necessary.

The association between microbes and cognition in midlife

Now, let’s dive directly into microbes and cognition specifically. A study published in JAMA Network Open looked into just that. The goal was fairly simple: finding associations between gut microbes and cognition.

To that end, the authors evaluated the diversity of different bacteria among participants. They gathered 597 participants with an average age of 55 years. Moreover, they adjusted for sociodemographic variables and health behaviors. They also accounted for clinical conditions.

They found that bacteria were associated with every cognitive measure. Therefore, it suggests that the gut biome influences cognitive aging.

Your gut biome and possible cognitive decline

Another study dove into the metabolites of aging mice’s guts. To simplify, they found five metabolites that help microglia sense brain changes. A quick clarification, microglia are brain immune cells.

One of those metabolites was released by a type of bacteria. Also, said metabolite became more common as mice aged. Adding this metabolite to microglia triggered cell death.

Additionally, the researchers gave the same metabolite to younger mice. After doing so, the mice also performed worse in cognitive measurements. Curiously, it was the only metabolite to pass through the blood-brain barrier. Thus, it might be easier to find treatment for its possible effects on humans.

Microbes and cognition: A possible cognitive decline factor

Lastly, let’s go through another review of the intestinal microbiome and cognition. That said, the study also focused on the impact of eating habits on cognition. Of course, I’ll revisit this topic in the future.

The authors went through a bunch of studies on the topic. Most of them described the microbiome and diet’s influence on cognitive impairment. Keep in mind that we’re also focusing specifically on learning.

Besides genetics, age, and geography, eating habits are majorly influential on gut biomes. The researchers found plenty of studies suggesting that probiotics could boost cognition. That’s one example of how diet can influence your cognition.

I’ll dive into this subject later. For now, microbes and cognition share an intimate link, according to research. Thus, your diet is likely affecting your cognitive performance.

The holistic takeaway

microbes and cognition - illustration of a bad microbe

Microbes and cognition share a link that we cannot ignore. Learning, retention, and other factors are intimately related. However, more research is necessary to find out the link’s extent. But, it’s enough to advocate for maintaining a healthy gut biome.

And, I have a great tip if you want to do that. I’m talking about Cognibiotics. This natural supplement takes an innovative approach to cognitive health. It offers good microbe strains that may improve your mental health and cognition.

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