Longevity Briefs: Gut microbiota impacts dopamine and serotonin levels

Posted on 11 September 2020

Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: Obesity is a rising health problem in the world, as it becomes more prevalent. Lifestyle change interventions proved to be of little effectiveness in treating obesity and new strategies are needed. Previous research has shown that faecal microbiota transfer in germ-free mice induced weight loss. It is theorized that gut microbiota produces metabolites (butyrate) that affect serotonin and dopamine levels, and they, in turn, have an effect on eating habits.

What did the researchers do: In this study, researchers conducted a double-blind randomized study on whether there is a difference between supplementing butyrate orally via capsules and faecal microbial transfer on dopamine and serotonin metabolism in humans.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: There was no significant effect of butyrate or faecal transplant on patients weight or insulin sensitivity. However, there is small evidence that gut microbiota affects a specific set of neurons, which modulate eating behaviour.

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