9/20/2022 - Technology and Innovation

Intestinal microbiota: The secret to modify states of mind, cure diseases and extend life?

By sahira janeir

Intestinal microbiota: The secret to modify states of mind, cure diseases and extend life?

The intestinal flora

The microorganisms are everywhere. On the cell phone, on the door handles, on the hands before washing and even after doing it, and literally on the entire surface of our skin. Scared truth? But at the same time they are very beneficial to our body. We are home to 100 billion microorganisms whose highest percentage lives in the intestine, conforming to intestinal flora or microbiota. We define a symbiosis relationship with these microorganisms that exceed human cells at least in a relation of 10 to 1. One can then say that we are like the “meio of transport” of these microorganisms.

The class of bacteria that inhabit our intestine depends on the type of food that is consumed, since in turn, these feed fermenting the available substrates derived from our diet or endogenous secretions and this allows it to proliferate the type of bacteria of the specific feeding type that is consumed. By ende, a person with a varied and nutrient-rich diet will not have the same microbiota as a person who consumes daily boring food. The importance of these bacteria, besides contributing to the metabolism and digestive system of the host, resides in that as a product of fermentation release molecules that cooperate with the development and homeostasis of the immune system, and offer protection by releasing substances that inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.

In addition, it was demonstrated that this microflora would not only be beneficial to our body, but would also be linked to our brain, sending orders and making certain decisions.

Are we controlled by bacteria?

If not. It is usually said that the intestine is the second brain, because after the brain, it is the organ with the highest concentration of neurons. It even has more neurons than the backbone and acts independently of the central nervous system. The intestinal microbiota releases metabolites and neurotransmitters that reach the brain, altering many of our physiological functions. A possible route is the vague nerve, which directly connects the brain with the intestine. These bacteria release 90% of the serotonin that exists in the body, the “neurotransmitter of happiness” and therefore influence our mood. Depending on the particular type of microbiota that inhabits the intestine and the neurotransmitters that emit, there will be a profile of serotoninergic, dopaminergic or catecholminergic neurotransmitters, which will generate very different impulses in our mind regarding the mood and the type of food we should ingest. “Tell me that microbiota you have and I’ll tell you how you behave,” ascertain the next time you’re in a bad mood, you know who to blame.

All this contributed to discovering that diseases such as autism, depression, obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases such as alzheimer and parkinson would have a relationship with microflora and the secretion of specific molecules. Even in 2021 a group of Canada demonstrated that a certain intestinal bacterial profile releases molecules that contribute to the formation of myelin and the level of brain development in babies.

How did we get them initially?

Within the womb of the mother, the embryo develops in sterile conditions. At birth and cross the vaginal tract, which as the intestine also possesses its own flora, billions of bacteria colonize each surface of your body. This essential part of human health. Therefore, babies born by caesarean section when not having initial contact with microflora, increase the probability of contracting autoimmune diseases, autism, depression, asthma, and even leukemia. But it can be reversible, as it takes up to 2 years to form a unique and healthy community of microflora that is also enriched with contact with other people and elements after birth.

Microbiota Transplants

In 2011, researchers at Karolinska University in Sweden found that they could change the behavior of animals by simply modifying their intestinal bacterial composition. Subsequently, a study published in the journal Nature in 2015 by a group of researchers from the McMaster University of Canada demonstrated that the intestinal microbiota could play a crucial role in the induction of anxiety and depression in both rats and humans. Following these findings, experiments were conducted that found that the symptoms of obesity could also be reversed, and even if the microbiota transplants of young rat feces to old rats could delay the signs of the aging process. In 2021, the importance of polyphenol compounds (present in fruits, vegetables and some vegetables) was published in the maintenance of an appropriate combination of anti-aging intestinal microbiota, which metabolize them in bioactive compounds that produce relevant health effects.

These findings urged that today, to apply fecal microbiota transplants be a therapeutic alternative consisting of transposing the microbiota of the feces of a healthy donor (which will contain the microorganisms of interest) to a patient, with the purpose of restoring the normal intestinal microbiota in the latter, and may be applied to a variety of conditions and obtaining positive progress in cases of autisms, infections and intests. They are also being applied in some cases of parkinson and alzheimer. For this, do not directly transplant the donor stool, but process and encapsulate the microorganisms present before being transferred to the receiver. Next would be to combine synthetic biology with this practice to perform microbiota transplants modified with

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sahira janeir

sahira janeir

Hi, I'm Sahira, Biotechnologist Biomedical! I studied in Buenos Aires where I focused on epigenetics and reproduction, but now I find myself in Spain developing cell therapy and neuronal regeneration of the spinal cord, and combining AI for early detection of diseases. In addition, the CDTM Technology Management, Valencia-Munich study, which develops innovative digital products and solutions for companies such as Lufthansa and S2group.


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