Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms.
Bioessays. 2014 Aug 8. doi: 10.1002/bies.201400071. [Epub ahead of print]
Joe Alcock 1, Carlo C. Maley 2,3,4, cmaley at alum.mit.edu and C. Athena Aktipis 2,3,4,5
1 Department of Emergency Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
2 Center for Evolution and Cancer, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA, USA
3 Department of Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
4 Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, (Institute for Advanced Study Berlin), Berlin, Germany
5 Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
Microbes in the gastrointestinal tract are under selective pressure to manipulate host eating behavior to increase their fitness, sometimes at the expense of host fitness. Microbes may do this through two potential strategies:
- (i) generating cravings for foods that they specialize on or foods that suppress their competitors, or
- (ii) inducing dysphoria until we eat foods that enhance their fitness.
We review several potential mechanisms for microbial control over eating behavior including
- microbial influence on reward and satiety pathways,
- production of toxins that alter mood,
- changes to receptors including taste receptors, and
- hijacking of the vagus nerve, the neural axis between the gut and the brain.
We also review the evidence for alternative explanations for cravings and unhealthy eating behavior.
Because microbiota are easily manipulatable by
- fecal transplants, and
- dietary changes,
altering our microbiota offers a tractable approach to otherwise intractable problems of obesity and unhealthy eating.
© 2014 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.
Note: dysphoria =a state of unease, dissatisfaction, anxiety, restlessness, . . .
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Nice study - full-text online
Sidebar: “Microbial genes are a much better readout of whether you're likely to be obese or not than human genes are.”
- Do gut bacteria control your mind? Kurzweilai Aug 2014