The gut-brain connection is among one of the most fascinating gut connections I have come across—and there are many gut connections. To think that what goes on in the gut can affect what goes on in our brains might seem unfathomable, but it’s true. I have blogged on it before—a number of times. A lot of research is still needed before we have a good handle on just how this all works, but until then, supporting healthy gut function should always be a part of returning to health.

A recent study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry found that the absence of gut microbes during early development altered the production of serotonin, the feel-good hormone involved in the regulation of mood and emotion. In an animal model, males were affected more than females, and, most notably, the introduction of microbes later in life was unable to induce a return to normal serotonin levels. This suggests that early gut composition can have far-reaching effects that may be irreversible later in life.

“As a neuroscientist these findings are fascinating as they highlight the important role that gut bacteria play in the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, and opens up the intriguing opportunity of developing unique microbial-based strategies for treatment for brain disorders,” stated John Cryan, senior author of the paper. More research is needed, of course, but this study adds to the growing body of evidence in support of the gut-brain connection.