Gut microbes may help repair damage done to the body following a stroke. A study conducted out of the University of Kentucky and published in the Journal of Neuroscience, uncovers the idea that supplementing the body with short chain fatty acids (SCFA – byproducts produced by gut bacteria when breaking down plant foods) could improve stroke recovery in some.
The study, conducted in mice, used water fortified with SCFAs and gave it to mice who had suffered a stroke. The mice who drank the water showed a reduction in motor impairment following stroke, as well as increased growth on the spines of dendrites on nerve cells – a key component for memory. These mice also showed an increase in genes associated with the brain’s immune cells.
These observations point to the idea that SCFAs may play a role in altering how the brain responds to injury via the gut-brain axis. While no clear long-term therapy exists for stroke patients, these findings are promising. Scientists hope to further test the effectiveness of SCFA supplementation for stroke therapy and hope to use it with success in the future.