The Importance of Gut Microbiota to Brain Health
In addition to bringing science-proven nutrition to parents in need, Wyeth Nutrition Hong Kong is also dedicated in giving back to the society by providing health tips for general public. This month, we would like to use this platform to share some nutrition information about the linkage between gut and brain.
Currently there are theories that point out the gut is our second brain in the human body, so what is the basis for this? There are many kinds of micro-organisms residing within the gut, together forming the gut microbiota which can reach up to 2 kg in weight in adults. The gut microbiota is important for various physiological roles including gastrointestinal tract, digestive and immune functions. It turns out the gut microbiota can also communicate with the brain via the gut-brain axis, where it impacts our mood, behavior and cognitive abilities. One of the proposed reasons being the neurotransmitters secreted by the gut microbiota, as they can transmit signals upwards through the body to our brain, where effects are exerted to influence brain activities. Gut-brain axis has been a rising research topic in the past decade, and scientists are still studying further to fully understand the relationship between gut microbiota and brain health.
Initial micro-organism colonization of the gut during early life is important as this is a critical window to establish a healthy microbiota, which is also linked to the long-term health of the child. In order to maintain the diversity and balance of gut microbiota, we need to consider diet and nutrition! Many studies pointed out that human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), prebiotics and probiotics can help to support the healthy growth of microbiota in early life. On the other hand, there is preliminary evidence to show HMOs in human milk are positively correlated with infant brain development. Scientists are now researching in this direction, exploring the effects to brain development after these ingredients are added to infant and toddler food products.
We hope the above information can help everyone to understand the topic more in-depth.