Gut-brain axis: Perfect storm of interest makes for an exciting arena

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags gut-brain axis Cognitive health Gut health Probiotic Research

Scientific advances and consumer appetite have converged to make the gut-brain axis one of the most exciting areas of research today, according to a leading scientist at ADM.

As Vice President of Medical Affairs & Clinical Development at ADM, Richard Day oversees the design and delivery of clinical research across the company's global Health & Wellness business.

This makes him ideally placed to discuss which topics offer the most exciting research and discoveries right now.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Europe Editor Nikki Hancocks for NI's Cognitive Health special edition newsletter, he discusses where the research currently stands and what his team hopes to deliver next.  

"There is absolutely no question in my mind that there are increasing numbers of preclinical and clinical trials being published every year," he asserts.

"There are a large number of narrative reviews, systematic reviews, and there are probably as many meta-analysis as there are randomised placebo controlled trials now, so there is a huge interest in the scientific community and this is mirrored by an interest in consumers.

"I think what's interesting is we are seeing quite a revolution in the way that society and consumers are talking about mental health, brain health and as extension, the gut-brain axis.

"I talk about this from a personal perspective because before I joined ADM I worked as a doctor and I trained as a psychiatrist so I have seen the way society's attitudes to mental health have changed quite profoundly in recent years.

"Now, what we have is almost a confluence of increased societal interest, a change in consumer perceptions around proactive management of health and preventative approaches, together with advances in science around the gut-brain axis.

"We have all these factors coming together which is like the perfect storm which makes the gut-brain axis one of the most exciting places to be researching at the moment."

Day points out there is exciting potential for the use of biotics in the regulation of mood and depression, noting discoveries from ADM's team of scientists, including a recently published study revealing statistically significant and clinically relavent outcomes on a variety of measures of depression.

He teases to further clinical trials being conducted in participants with self identified anxiety - one testing a two strain probiotic combination and one testing a botanical extract.

Further, the team is studying the impact of a probiotic strain on Parkinson's symptoms as well as researching the effect of a multi-strain probiotic on cognitive and emotional processing in peri-menopausal and menopausal women.

Watch this video with NutraIngredients-Europe Editor Nikki Hancocks for the full interview.

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