A well balanced and healthy diet which is low in fats can do wonders for your body as well as mind. Food rich in fat not only leads to obesity and associated cardiovascular ailments but also leads to depression and behavior changes according to a new study done under the aegis of Louisiana State University. These changes are precipitated by effects of a high fat diet on the gut microbiome.
Microbiome as the name suggests is a term used to describe the composition of microorganisms which inhabit the intestinal tracts of humans. These microorganisms are important for the normal functioning of the gut and any disturbance in the composition of the Microbiome can precipitate a number of health problems.
The research team started working with mice to test if an obesity-related microbiome could also affect behavior and mood. The team transferred the gut microbiota of mice which was fed a high fat diet or a control diet into adult mice of normal weight that had been kept on a normal diet.
The recipient mice were then placed under observation and researchers closely monitored for any changes in behavior and cognitive change. It was observed that those mice which received microbiota shaped by a high-fat diet showed marked behavioral changes indicating elevated levels of anxiety and impaired memory. The mice also exhibited repetitive behaviors and also signs of physiological malaise such as inflammation.
Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, in which the study was recently published says, “This paper suggests that high-fat diets impair brain health, in part, by disrupting the symbiotic relationship between humans and the microorganisms that occupy our gastrointestinal tracks.”
Even if there is no tell tale signs of obesity, alteration to the microbiota brought by high-fat diet can alter the brain functions according to the study. The findings can have potential application in treating neuropsychiatric disorders.