We also want to understand how food or diet can influence our brain functioning and mental health. We therefore study the gut-brain axis.
The gut and the brain are connected and “speak” to each other in a bidirectional communication that includes information on everything from infections and nausea, to mood and stress. This bidirectional link is known as the “Gut-Brain” axis. Recently, the bacteria that live in our gut (known as the gut microbiota) have been identified as potentially important mechanistic contributors to the “Gut-Brain” axis and behavior and mental health and disorders.
This is relevant for two reasons:
- the gut microbiota produces substances such as essential amino acids, and these substances could have a direct impact on our brains and
- the structure and function of our gut-microbiota depends on the food we eat.
This means that if we can identify and modify the structure of our gut microbiota (via our diet), we could, in principle, modify (ever slightly) the way our brains work. In Eat2beNICE we are studying how this works.