Is your gut microbiome the key to health and happiness?

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Research suggests the vast ecosystem of organisms that lives in our digestive systems might be as complex and influential as our genes in everything from mental health to athleticism and obesity. But is ‘poop doping’ really the way ahead?

John Cryan was originally trained as a neuroscientist to focus on everything from the neck upwards. But eight years ago, an investigation into irritable bowel syndrome drew his gaze towards the gut. Like people with depression, those with IBS often report having experienced early-life trauma, so in 2009, Cryan and his colleagues set about traumatising rat pups by separating them from their mothers. They found that the microbiome of these animals in adulthood had decreased diversity, he says.

theguardian.com

 

John Cryan was originally trained as a neuroscientist to focus on everything from the neck upwards. But eight years ago, an investigation into irritable bowel syndrome drew his gaze towards the gut. Like people with depression, those with IBS often report having experienced early-life trauma, so in 2009, Cryan and his colleagues set about traumatising rat pups by separating them from their mothers. They found that the microbiome of these animals in adulthood had decreased diversity, he says.

The gut microbiome is a vast ecosystem of organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and protozoans that live in our digestive pipes, which collectively weigh up to 2kg (heavier than the average brain). It is increasingly treated by scientists as an organ in its own right. Each gut contains about 100tn bacteria, many of which are vital, breaking down food and toxins, making vitamins and training our immune systems.

read more at theguardian.com

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