Diet Mediated Epigenetic Effects On The Microbiota Gut Brain Axis Essay

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Diet Mediated Epigenetic Effects on the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis The Future of Epigenetic Drugs The Oxford English Dictionary defines a drug as, “a substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body” (“Drug,” 2016). Most would consider this definition too broad since simply ingesting food causes physiological changes in the body. However, most do not consider the multifarious ways in which the food that we eat affects our epigenetic gene expression, or the bi-directional signaling between our gut and our brains. The food that we eat is metabolized in the gut by micro-organisms which collectively form our microbiota. The 100 trillion prokaryotic cells that make up our microbiota, constitute 90% of the cells in our bodies, and are derived from more than 40,000 bacterial strains (Forsythe & Kunze, 2012). Increasingly, research is showing the importance of host microbiota composition and the bidirectional signaling pathways between the brain and the gut: some of which are epigenetic. These studies elucidate the profound impacts that signaling pathways, such as short-chain fatty acid mediated effects, nucleomodulins, and other bacterial metabolites, can have on health, behavior and cognition (Sommer & Backhed, 2013). It is now clear that diet-mediated epigenetic effects are important mechanisms in the etiology of numerous diseases (Choi & Friso, 2010). Furthermore, artificial drugs that can act on these epigenetic pathways could
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