Gary Wenk (Neuroscientist and the author of Your Brain on Food), claims that the bacteria in your gut impact your brain. Here are some of his key points and comments on how they are particularly relevant to Boomers:
The elderly and frail humans who have major cognitive impairments also have the lowest level of bug diversity in their guts.
You might not be elderly yet or frail but it behooves you to gain some awareness of the state of your gut bacteria. They eat what you eat, and the byproducts of what they eat impact the health of your digestive tract and your brain. Checkout this primer on probiotics.
A fatty acid called butyrate is produced when good bacteria breaks down complex carbohydrates. It can easily leave the gut and enter the brain, where it can influence the levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF plays a critical role in the birth and survival of neurons and the ability of the brain to learn and remember. Reduced levels of BDNF are correlated with impaired cognitive function and depression.
Well-being and healthy aging depends on a brain that can learn and adapt at any age. No one wants to become demented as they age. Making sure you have a healthy gut biome is one way you can help keep this from happening. As the good bacteria break down complex carbohydrates, they make the food easier to digest. They lower the glycemic index and make more vitamins and micronutrients available.
Accumulating evidence suggests that gut microbes play key roles in both the developing and mature nervous system, and may contribute to emotional and behavioral disorders as well as numerous neurodegenerative diseases.
The degenerative part of neurodegenerative diseases start long before we notice symptoms. So should prevention. We do know that older people suffer from more depression and loneliness. Boomers should take heed
We need to take good care of these health-essential bacteria so that they will take good care of our brains. Consuming prebiotics and probiotics can help us to maintain a healthy diversity within the microbe environment. Can we manipulate their world in order to improve our health? Yes.
See our blog post: A Primer on Probiotics.