Probiotics Prevent Brain Atrophy and Improve Cognition - Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC

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Probiotics Prevent Brain Atrophy and Improve Cognition

How a healthy gut can go a long way in protecting against cognitive decline and keeping your brain young

We all want to maintain the sharpest brain possible, especially as we age. And now, new research is showing that probiotics may be able to play a role in doing so. A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease looked at the relationship between probiotics, cognitive function, and brain atrophy. While I dive deep into the study’s outcomes, I also speak on why multi-strain probiotics are preferred and how else probiotics benefit gut, brain, immune, and liver health. Listen in to learn more about the power of probiotics.

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➕ Dr. Ruscio’s, DC Notes

The 4 Stages of Cognitive Decline Progression

  • Subjective cognitive decline
  • Early mild cognitive impairment
  • Late mild cognitive impairment 
  • Alzheimer’s disease


The Benefits of Probiotics for Gut, Brain, Immune, and Liver Health 

  • Studies have shown that probiotics can help with: 
    • Seasonal and food allergies
    • Atopic dermatitis 
    • Leaky gut syndrome
    • Upper respiratory tract infections
    • Nutrient absorption 
    • Hepatic Encephalopathy
      • Rifaximin (a gut-derived antibiotic) has also been shown to be helpful for this condition.


A Groundbreaking Study on Probiotics for Cognitive Function 

The study:

  • 24-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
  • 115 older patients with suspected mild cognitive impairment (MCI), randomized to placebo or probiotic (Bifidobacterium breve 20 billion CFU) 
    • Those with worse cognitive function correlated with dysbiosis (lower bifidobacterium)

The results:

  • After 6 months, compared to placebo, probiotics led to:
    • Improved cognitive function
    • Halted progression of brain atrophy based on MRI 
    • No difference on gut microbiota


Dr Ruscio’s thoughts: 

  • Only one strain of probiotic was used. Using a more diverse probiotic with more species and strains likely would’ve had a bigger impact, like in this meta-analysis of probiotics on MCI.

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