The Brain-Gut-Microbiome’s Connection to IBD, Obesity and Anxiety/Depression

In the last 5 days I spoke at scientific meetings in NYC, New Orleans and UCLA on each of these topics. The growing interest in the topic of brain gut communication by specialists working in very different areas of research would not have been imaginable only a couple of years ago!

Question 1: What do inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), obesity/food addiction, and depression/anxiety have in common?

Answer: Current research suggests that they are all disorders involving the brain gut microbiome communication. A recent review by Caltech investigators reviews the latest evidence on the topic of brain microbiota communication (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27814521)

Question 2:
If the gut microbes do play a role in all 3 disorders, are there shared therapies targeted at the brain gut axis?

Answer: Current evidence suggests yes. Both mind based therapies (like mindfulness based stress reduction and cognitive behavioral therapies), as well a diet high in plant based foods and low in animal products (like the Mediterranean diet) are beneficial in all three diseases. Read more about it in The Mind-Gut Connection Book.

Further reading: Sharon G, Sampson TR, Geschwind DH, Mazmanian SK. The Central Nervous System and the Gut Microbiome. Cell. 2016 Nov 3;167(4):915-932. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.10.027.

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