Gut microbiota

What is gut microbiota?

The microbiome involves a dynamic community of microorganisms that inhabits the human body, and changes in response to intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The microbiome community includes bacteria, archaea, microbial eukaryotes, fungi, and viruses, and so it is critical in maintaining healthy physiology, Disruption to the microbiome has been shown to have a pivotal role across a range of medical conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic diseases, cancer and chronic pulmonary diseases.

Studies are now investigating how the microbiome can influence the brain, in particular gut microbiota. The mechanisms by which intestinal microorganisms could be linked to emotional and cognitive functions of the brain are not fully understood, but they are thought to include the vagus nerve, gut hormone signaling, the immune system, tryptophanmetabolism, and microbial metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids.

What is the evidence for changes in gut microbiota in people with bipolar disorder?

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests decreased fractional representation of Faecalibacterium when compared to controls, and reduced gut biodiversity in medicated vs. non-medicated patients.

July 2020

Last updated at: 5:17 am, 10th July 2020
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