Craving chocolate, chips or sweet cookies? While we think we’re making decisions based on our wishes, it’s actually the microbes in our gut that choose for us. Explanations.
This famous snacking craving felt during the day would not be harmless. Far from being solely dictated by our brains, this desire would actually reveal the presence of microbes in our intestine, that determine our food choices. According to the results of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA), these microbes create substances that cause cravings for different types of foodwhich would explain why we would be influenced by the consumption of one food rather than another.
The link between the brain and the gut
The choice of our food is not entirely ours. To understand the degree of entanglement that can exist between our gut microbiota and our brain, an American study, the results of which were published April 20, 2022 in the journal Science Daily, conducted an experiment on mice. For the first time, scientists have succeeded you find that microbes in the gut can influence what we want to eat.
When morale is in the socks, the stomach is in the heels. It’s a bit gross, of course, but this link between the brain and our gut (our second brain) has just been confirmed experimentally.
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“We all have these cravings, like a craving for a salad or a need to eat meat”, points out Kevin Kohl, assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Kenneth P. Dietrich School. of Arts and Sciences. The research, conducted on mice, shows that ” animals with different compositions of gut microbes choose different types of diets “, explains the researcher.
An experiment conducted on mice
If a link between intestine and brain Long mentioned by researchers, Professor Kohl’s team subjected 30 mice devoid of gut microbes to a cocktail of microorganisms from three wild rodent species and characterized by very different diets.
As a result, the different groups have chosen various nutrient-rich foods, different from their usual diet.
“Your gut and your brain are in constant conversation, with certain types of molecules acting as intermediaries”, explains the study. These are types of “By-products of digestion” that signal to the brain if we are full or if we need certain types of nutrients. Some of these molecules can be released by microbes in the gut, which they can bypass the information initially sent to the brain.
Tryptophan, the amino acid that confuses information in the brain
In particular, the researchers point to tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in some foods, especially of plant origin, and which the body does not know how to manufacture. It plays a fundamental role in the proper functioning of the body, in particular by fighting against depression, mood and sleep disorders. ” When it gets to the brain, it turns into serotonin, an important signal for feeling full after a meal. explains Dr Trevelline, another researcher on the study. “Eventually the stuff turns into melatonin and then you feel sleepy. “
Metabolites produced by microbes in the gut play a crucial role in maintaining gut health. New Evidence Reveals Gut Microbes in Celiac Disease Display Impaired Tryptophan Metabolism https://t.co/Oq4CuBgimB
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More research is needed
Despite this unsuspected power, this substance is not the only one responsible what we choose to put on our plate. “There are probably dozens of signs that influence eating behavior on a daily basis. The tryptophan produced by microbes may be just one aspect of it “, says the specialist, stating that their recent discovery allows us to establish the role of microscopic organisms in what we eat.
While the hypothesis has yet to be tested in humans, this is the first time that such a link between the gut and the brain has been identified, confirming years of theories and scientific research.
More research is needed, however, despite the fact that the study researchers say so “Surprised at all the roles we are discovering microbes play in human and animal biology.”
– The scientific method (@lamethodeFC) May 16, 2022
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