An interesting little article[i] appeared in GeekWire this week about ongoing research looking at how probiotics affect memory. Previous research already suggests that memory can be improved by supplementing with beneficial bacteria. Lactobacillus has been shown to improve cognition in Alzheimer’s as well.
The article describes a recently published study on mice wherein mice were given Lactobacillus and then memory tested. Compared to controls, the mice showed “much improved memory.”
The researchers found that the mice given the probiotic had higher concentrations of GABA (which is linked to working memory) in the hippocampus, the part of the brain most associated with memory.
As you might expect, it works both ways. Last June, a study was published showing that disrupting the gut bacteria cause mice to develop memory impairment. Replenishing the microbiome restored memory. “These results suggest that the gut microbiota disturbance by extrinsic stresses can cause gastrointestinal inflammation, resulting in memory impairment.”[ii]
In August, a paper was published that showed that Lactobacillus planatrium ameliorated cognition deficits in mice with induced Alzheimer’s disease.[iii]
Less than a month ago, WebMD ran an article entitled, “Another Alzheimer’s Drug Fails; Scientists Stymied.”[iv] As of today, we are nowhere near a cure for the millions of people affected worldwide. You do have to wonder if the answer isn’t actually staring us in the face???
[ii] Jang, SE, Lim, SM, Jeong, JJ, Jang, HM, Lee, HJ, Han, MJ, Kim, DH. Gastrointestinal inflammation by gut microbiota disturbances induces memory impairment in mice. Mucosal Immunology. 2017. Jun 14. doi: 10.1038/mi.2017.49
[iii] Nimgampalle, M, Kuna, Y. Anti-Alzheimer’s properties of probiotic, Lactobacillus plantarum MTCC 1325 in Alzheimer’s disease induced albino rats. Journal of Clincal and Diagnostic Research. 2017. 11(8):KC01-KC05.