These 5 Gut Conditions Were Just Linked To Alzheimer's Disease
The more we learn about the gut-brain axis, the more we realize just how essential it is to overall well-being. Case in point: Recent research published in the journal Communications Biology1 discovered there's a link between at least five specific gut conditions and Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Here's what the research found, plus some strategies to help you keep your gut (and subsequently your brain) happy as you age.
What the study found.
It's long been suspected that Alzheimer's and the gut could have a particular connection, but until this research, the relationship between AD and gut disorders has been misunderstood.
To dig in to this suspected link, researchers from Edith Cowan University in Australia analyzed genetic data from existing research on Alzheimer's and gut disorders, completing a large-scale analysis of over 400,000 people.
Their findings suggest that people with gut disorders may be at a greater risk of developing AD, and further, that people with AD and gut disorders appear to share certain genes. The five specific gut disorders linked with Alzheimer's were gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease (PUD), gastritis-duodenitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and diverticulosis.
As lead researcher Emmanuel Adewuyi, Ph.D., explains in a news release, "The study provides a novel insight into the genetics behind the observed co-occurrence of AD and gut disorders," adding, "This improves our understanding of the causes of these conditions and identifies new targets to investigate to potentially detect the disease earlier and develop new treatments for both types of conditions."
How to help your gut.
While these findings do not necessarily indicate gut disorders cause Alzheimer's, or vice versa, they do reinforce the importance of taking care of your gut for whole-body health.
Eating a gut-fueling, nutrient-dense diet—and avoiding food triggers that could harm your microbiome—is always a good place to start. Getting plenty of aerobic exercise has also been found to increase the array of bacteria2 in your digestive tract and contribute to overall microbial diversity. (That's a good thing!)
Another great way to increase the biodiversity in your biome is by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, as it will be packed with beneficial bacteria that can improve microbial balance and gut health. Here is our list of the absolute best probiotic supplements of the year to get you started.
The more we unpack about the gut-brain connection, the more it becomes abundantly clear that gut health is intimately connected to brain health. The body is one complete, interwoven system, after all, and it's in our best interest to treat it as such.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.