One of the things we dread the most as we get older is how age causes cognition and brain function to decline. While we cannot stop the aging process, there are things we can do to maintain optimal brain function and cognition.
Studies have long shown that the gut-brain axis allows for communication between gut and brain. A happy gut can promote good mental health, so there is no reason to think that the same healthy and happy gut can’t promote cognitive strength too.
Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s scare most people. It is a fact that as we get older, our bodies start to slow. We don’t heal as quickly, energy levels drop, metabolism slows, and cognition starts to decrease.
Forgetting some groceries or where you left the car keys is one thing, but neurodegenerative diseases are a much more serious matter. Negatively impacting your quality of life, the cognitive decline associated with these diseases is nothing to ignore.
The most devastating fact about Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases is that there is no cure. Medications and treatments are available to help ease symptoms and promote quality of life, but eventually, the brain gives up. In addition to this, many medications have unpleasant side effects, forcing people to avoid them.
The Link Between Brain and Gut
Probiotic foods and quality probiotic supplements can support a healthy gut microbe community. Medications, poor diet, lack of exercise, and aging all contribute to declining numbers of beneficial gut flora. When this happens, harmful strains can take over. Eventually, your immune system weakens, allowing inflammation to spread throughout your body.
Both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s symptoms are linked to inflammation, but with probiotic support, you can control the inflammatory response from the start.
Probiotics will not cure cognitive decline, but they can protect your brain and give your body the support it needs to effectively fight symptoms. Studies with mice have shown that Parkinson’s diseases only develop in mice where certain gut bacteria are present. This indicates that by preventing these specific strains from growing in your gut, you can protect yourself from diseases such as Parkinson’s.
It seems that certain bacterial strains activate microglia which is the immune cells that live in your brain. Activation of these cells triggers inflammation in your brain and the symptoms associated with neurodegenerative diseases. It is important to understand that these bacteria do not cause the diseases, but they do show us a very important link between the gut health and brain function.
It has been well documented that a balanced gut bacterial community promotes immunity and can lower the risk of some serious diseases. The gut microbiome within Parkinson’s patients have been shown to be missing certain strains. By identifying these, we can successfully develop treatment options. If a specific colony makeup puts you at greater risk for neurodegeneration, therapies can be provided to correct the environment and bring the gut colonies back into a health balance.
The Link Between Probiotics and You
The need for probiotics becomes increasingly important because there are so many factors in life that deplete your natural stores. Without the additional support of probiotics, your gut health is at risk, and cognitive decline will become inevitable.
The healthy balance of your gut microbiome can be disrupted by any of the following:
- NSAIDs and frequent use of other medications
- Antibiotics: Despite killing harmful bacteria, they kill your friendly ones too.
- Excessive stress: This triggers inflammation, which can kill off gut bacteria.
- Poor diet:Too many fats and sugars allow harmful strains in your gut to thrive. When they take over, your risk for serious diseases and cognitive impairment significantly increases.
Probiotics have long been discussed for their ability to generate optimal gut health. It seems that everywhere you turn, probiotic foods and supplements are being promoted. Scientific research shows support for the impressive impact that probiotics can have on your overall health.
From improved digestion and enhanced immunity to improved mood and cognition, there isn’t much these small bacteria can do.
Probiotic foods can be easily found at stores today, thanks to their popularity. They have gained popularity for their ability to promote gut health as well as enhance overall health. As more benefits are discovered, manufacturers are rushing to create the best probiotic supplement. The best probiotic food sources include:
- Yogurt: Make sure you get natural yogurt that has not been pasteurized, as this removes many of the nutrients and probiotic benefits.
- Kimchi: This fermented Korean dish can be easily made at home and contains important lactic acid bacteria, which boost digestive and cognitive health.
- Kefir: This probiotic milk drink is made from cultures, giving you a host of beneficial microbes.
- Sauerkraut: Fermented cabbage not only adds flavor to a hot dog, but it fills your gut with much-needed probiotic support, as it contains beneficial lactic acid bacteria.
In the event you are not fond of any of the popular probiotic food sources, there are quality probiotic supplements available. So long as you choose a quality, recognized, and clinically proven formula, you can be assured of significant bacterial support. The more live cultures your probiotic supplement has the better. Given that cognitive decline is linked to the absence of certain strains, more strains increases your brain protection.
The discovery of the gut-brain axis allows for a new treatment option in the fight against cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. Healthy guts are correlated with healthy brains, so by taking care of your gut bacteria, you can protect your brain too.
By taking care of your gut, your bacterial friends can ensure protection from inflammation and other harmful diseases that can contribute to the slow decline of your brain. The smart choice for cognitive health is probiotics.