Gut bacteria spotted eating brain chemicals for the first time

Gut bacteria spotted eating brain chemicals for the first time, by Andy Coghlan.

Bacteria have been discovered in our guts that depend on one of our brain chemicals for survival. These bacteria consume GABA, a molecule crucial for calming the brain, and the fact that they gobble it up could help explain why the gut microbiome seems to affect mood. …

“Although research on microbial communities related to psychiatric disorders may never lead to a cure, it could have astonishing relevance to improving patients’ quality of life,” said Domenico Simone of George Washington University in Ashburn, Virginia.

We carry about 2 kg of bacteria in our guts that are not our cells. They appear to have a huge role in our immune system and psychology that science has only recently twigged to. Taking antibiotics wipes out some strains of gut bacteria, and this might be implicated in all sorts of diseases of modern life.