It seems the more one reads about gut health, the more connections one finds. The latest link to make the cut? Alzheimer’s disease. According to some research, there might be a connection between our gut microbiota and dementia. The latest studies do prove promising to the estimated 44 million people worldwide struggling with the condition.
The Microbiome-Health Connection
As more researchers pay close attention to the anatomy of the gut, they’re starting to notice a connection with various conditions and ailments. Inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, colorectal cancer, heart health, and now, Alzheimer’s disease.
How Dementia and Gut Microbiome Connect
One study looked at the different components of gut microbiota on patients with and without Alzheimer’s disease. For the group with dementia, researchers noticed low levels of bactericides. By looking at the differences in gut microbiota, researchers noticed a specific type of bacteria found only on those with dementia.
Another similar study noticed that mice with these same issues in gut bacteria had higher amounts of beta-amyloid plaque in their brains. Beta-amyloid plaques are lumps associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alzheimer’s-Gut Health Link
So far, no study has been able to prove a direct link due to the small sample size of the studies. However, by comparing the effects of healthy gut microbiota composition on brain health, researchers believe there’s a significant connection.
With Alzheimer’s, a diet low in antioxidants or high in pro-inflammatory fatty acids can facilitate the accumulation of amyloid plaques.
Although current studies still have many limitations, there’s hope that gut health could be a new target for Alzheimer’s Disease treatment. Following a Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, fruits, and vegetables may be beneficial. In contrast, a highly-processed diet, filled with sugar, is mostly regarded as having adverse effects on brain health.
Managing your gut health won’t necessarily prevent or reverse the effects of dementia. However, improving your health, reducing inflammation, and keeping your gut health in check are all valid ways to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.