We all experience a “gut reaction” at times in our lives to a person or event. When anxious we may actually feel our stomachs/intestines contract. So we know instinctively that there is some connection between our brain and our gut.
Now scientists are at the very start of exploring that relationship. While the bacteria in our gut cannot penetrate the brain, the chemicals released do apparently influence it. Researchers are relying at this point mainly on animal studies and are just beginning to sort out the effects of the presence or absence of particular strains of bacteria on our mental health, including Alzheimer’s and depression. Since the science is so preliminary and there is a long way to go, it is mainly flying under the radar, but you may want to keep watch for articles reporting on progress, such as the ones below.