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There is more to what is happening in your gut than you know.




The intestinal microbiota is known to produce a wide variety of neuroactive molecules that can influence the gut-brain axis and potentially impact sleep, appetite, cognition and mood.


Some of the key neuroactive molecules produced by intestinal microbiota include:

  1. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs): These are produced by the fermentation of dietary fibers by gut bacteria, and can act on G-protein coupled receptors in the gut and brain. SCFAs, such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, have been shown to modulate immune function, glucose homeostasis, and central nervous system function.

  2. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA): GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating mood and anxiety. Some strains of bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, have been shown to produce GABA.

  3. Serotonin: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. A significant amount (roughly 95%) of serotonin is produced in the gut, and the gut microbiota has been shown to play a major role in regulating serotonin levels.

  4. Dopamine: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in reward-motivated behavior. Some bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, have been shown to produce dopamine.

  5. Histamine: Histamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. Some strains of bacteria, such as Lactobacillus reuteri, have been shown to produce histamine.

  6. Neurotransmitter precursors: Intestinal bacteria can also produce precursors to neurotransmitters, such as tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin, and tyrosine, which is a precursor to dopamine.

These neuroactive molecules produced by intestinal microbiota have been shown to have a wide range of effects on the brain and behavior, and their study is an active area of research in the field of microbiome research. This bring great excitement for me, a naturopath that is very passionate in all things gut-brain related.

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