Dr Bollmann, Skin Care Specialist, Anti-Aging Expert

Can we charge our behavior by changing our diet? Does our high fat American diet make us depressed? Or even pscchotic?

High-fat diets have long been known to increase the risk for medical problems, including heart disease and stroke, but there is growing concern that diets high in fat might also increase the risk for depression and other psychiatric disorders.

Annadora J. Bruce-Keller, from Louisiana State University (Louisiana, USA), and colleagues employed a mouse model to assess the changes to the gut microbiome – the bacteria that resides in the GI tract, which thereby may trigger susceptibility to neuropsychiatric disorders.

Non-obese adult mice were conventionally housed and maintained on a normal diet, but received a transplant of gut microbiota from donor mice that had been fed either a high-fat diet or control diet. The recipient mice were then evaluated for changes in behavior and cognition.

The animals who received the microbiota shaped by a high-fat diet showed multiple disruptions in behavior, including increased anxiety, impaired memory, and repetitive behaviors. Further, the animals fed the high-fat diet showed many detrimental effects in the body, including increased intestinal permeability and markers of inflammation. Signs of inflammation in the brain were also evident and may have contributed to the behavioral changes.

Observing that: “The mice given [high-fat diet] microbiota had significant and selective disruptions in exploratory, cognitive, and stereotypical behavior,” the study authors conclude that: “these data reinforce the link between gut dysbiosis and neurologic dysfunction and suggest that dietary and/or pharmacologic manipulation of gut microbiota could attenuate the neurologic complications of obesity.”

What is gut dysbiosis? Gut dysbiosis is a medical condition that happens when there is a microbial imbalance in a person or animal’s intestines. Humans and most animals usually have a lot of bacteria growing in their intestines, but in most instances there’s a mix between good bacteria, which help break down food into energy and assist with digestion, and bad bacteria, which are usually shuttled out with waste and can carry diseases. The problem happens when the balance is disrupted and the bad organisms overpower the good. Symptoms usually include digestive distress, particularly diarrhea, as well as more generalized symptoms like fatigue and food intolerance. There are a number of causes for the condition. Sometimes the problem is a response to certain medications, particularly antibiotics, but it can also be caused by emotional triggers like stress. Parasites and certain medical conditions can be to blame, too. The problem is usually pretty easy to solve, though medication is almost always required. 

How close are we to being able to manipulate our weight and personality by changing the bacteria in the gut, by either proper diet or drugs. And is this why we feel better when we eat a low fat diet?



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