According to the outcomes of a scientific experiment, those with mild cognitive impairment who took a probiotic for 30 days performed better on cognitive tests.
After the trial, those who took probiotics had lower levels of a type of bacteria linked to cognitive impairment in their gut microbiomes.
According to the research, altering gut flora may be a promising strategy for treating chronic illnesses like cognitive impairment.
Probiotic therapy may help persons with moderate cognitive impairment (MCI) regain cognitive function, according to a clinical investigation.
There is an urgent need for more research,” declared Mashael R. Aljumaah, the primary study author and a doctorate candidate in microbiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in light of the global rise in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
People with cognitive impairment were given daily probiotics of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG during the double-blind randomised study. Also, after three months, their cognitive test results improved.
The researchers examined the participants’ stool samples and discovered significant quantities of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, or LGG, as well as a decrease in the quantity of Prevotella, a different family of bacteria frequently detected in individuals with cognitive deterioration.
These alterations imply a favourable change in the microbiota makeup of the subjects.
“Numerous earlier animal investigations, which showed LGG’s beneficial effects on several physiological situations, led to its development as a possible therapeutic probiotic. As a probiotic, LGG is also well-known for its capacity to withstand acidity and stick to intestinal walls,” according to lead researcher Michael R. Aljumaah.
Probiotic’s effects on mild cognitive impairment
To conduct the study, researchers contrasted those who had minor cognitive impairment with those who did not.
They aimed to spot, comprehend, and try to sway the early phases of cognitive deterioration. Finding biomarkers that could indicate the onset of cognitive decline was a part of that endeavor.
The age range of the 169 participants in the clinical trial ranged from 52 to 75 years old. As a control group, those without cognitive disorders were assigned to one group. People with cognitive problems were assigned to another group.
For three months, either LGG or a placebo was given to both groups. There were no negative effects in either group.
Prevotella, one such biomarker, was discovered in adults with cognitive impairment by Aljumaah and her coworkers. The fact that receiving LGG seemed to lessen its presence points to a potential future for microbiome re-balancing.
Aljumaah added, “By developing microbiome-targeted therapies, we may be able to delay the onset of cognitive impairment.”
Prevotella bacteria and long-term illnesses
Aljumaah clarified that while the Prevotella family of bacteria is present in persons with cognitive loss, it is not totally evident that their effect is solely detrimental.
For instance, the bacteria Prevotella has been linked to autoimmune, inflammatory, and cognitive disorders. According to Aljumaah, it is frequently discovered in persons who have Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disorders such rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Additionally, because it originates from plant-based diets, Prevotella bacteria may aid in the processing of fiber and is linked to metabolites that are crucial for maintaining gut health.
This raises the question of whether specific Prevotella species or strains may contribute to these illnesses, or whether a particular genetic characteristic or mechanism may be to blame, Aljumaah observed.
Greater research with LGG bacteria is required.
Board-certified neurologist Dr. Santosh Kesari, director of neuro-oncology at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California, who was not involved in the study, told MNT that he considered the participants’ receiving cognitive advantages “intriguing.”
However, Dr. Kesari urged further investigations to confirm their findings and make sure that adding LGG bacteria doesn’t have any negative side effects.
He also raised concern that an attempt to treat a condition by adding a probiotic to the gut microbiome would upset the bacterial equilibrium, leading to negative effects.
“Focusing on a positive effect on brain health could have a counterproductive effect in another organ system,” Dr. Kesari warned.
Health effects of the gut-brain relationship
It’s crucial to keep in mind that our knowledge of the precise pathways tying the gut microbiome to cognitive function is still in its infancy, according to Aljumaah.
According to Aljumaah, “more specifically, our understanding about which members of the gut [microbiome] are involved remains limited.”
Aljumaah also suggested a number of potential routes for communication between the two dispersed bodily regions, including the vagus nerve and the immune system.
Additionally, metabolites like short-chain fatty acids and even neurotransmitters made by the gut flora may be implicated.
Dr. Kesari proposed that the microbiome’s influence on brain function might be more indirect.
The microbiome is really the doorway for nutrition, nutrients, and how things are metabolized, according to Dr. Kesari, therefore it has a huge impact on overall body health, including brain function. “You are what you eat, as the saying goes, and this is really the scientific proof of that,” said Dr. Kesari.
Improving health outcomes by changing the microbiome
Undoubtedly, the microbiome is medicine’s most challenging and exciting frontier in terms of human health. Prevotella serves as an illustration of how the microbiome is likewise a challenging field of research.
Whether or not researchers can ever fully comprehend the microbiome to control or rebalance its residents, Dr. Kesari said, “I think it has to get there.”
We are aware that nutrition and obesity are the main causes of morbidities in the United States. Many of these conditions are preventable, and the microbiome plays a role in some of them. There is no chance that our eating patterns will change very soon. So, in my opinion, the only solution to lessen the cost pressures of healthcare is if we can obtain a probiotic that may help us stay healthier, said neurologist Dr. Santosh Kesari.
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