Event Title

Implications of the Gut-Brain-Microbiome Axis and Stress Response for Maladaptive Eating Behavior: A Literature Review

Poster Number

037

Session Title

Mental Health and Attitudes

Presenter Information

Emily GarrettFollow

Document Type

Poster Presentation

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Human Nutrition

Honors Thesis Committee

Hope Lima, Ph.D.; Karin Evans, M.A.; and Courtney Guenther, Ph.D.

Description

Several areas of research are revealing that the gut microbiome, or the bacteria colonized in human intestines, can have a significant impact on specific disease states, including maladaptive eating behaviors and eating disorders. Specifically, the gut microbiome can influence signaling pathways that affect brain regions related to emotion and behavior regulation. This connection between the gut and brain suggests that there may be mechanisms by which the gut influences behavior. If these mechanisms can be understood, interventions can be developed to improve gut health, as well as emotion and behavior regulation. This paper reviews the current literature pertaining to the gut microbiome, the gut-brain axis, and behavior regulation interventions, specifically in populations with eating disorders. Findings suggest that eating behavior is strongly influenced by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which produces the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can be influenced by alterations in gut hormones caused by a dysregulated gut microbiome. If the gut microbiome is dysregulated, HPA axis activation will be dysregulated, and the body will respond to physical and psychological stressors with abnormal amounts of cortisol, which in turn influences hunger and satiety hormone levels and alters subsequent eating behavior. Studies indicate that when the stress response is attenuated by mindfulness practices, behavior regulation improves, suggesting implications for food intake and eating behavior. This paper also explores gaps in the available data related to stress response and eating behavior, future research directions, and ways to further implement some existing mindfulness-based interventions in the field of nutrition.

Previously Presented/Performed?

South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (SCAND) Annual Meeting, Columbia, South Carolina, April 2020; Sixth Annual Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (SOURCE), Winthrop University, April 2020

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Apr 24th, 12:00 AM

Implications of the Gut-Brain-Microbiome Axis and Stress Response for Maladaptive Eating Behavior: A Literature Review

Several areas of research are revealing that the gut microbiome, or the bacteria colonized in human intestines, can have a significant impact on specific disease states, including maladaptive eating behaviors and eating disorders. Specifically, the gut microbiome can influence signaling pathways that affect brain regions related to emotion and behavior regulation. This connection between the gut and brain suggests that there may be mechanisms by which the gut influences behavior. If these mechanisms can be understood, interventions can be developed to improve gut health, as well as emotion and behavior regulation. This paper reviews the current literature pertaining to the gut microbiome, the gut-brain axis, and behavior regulation interventions, specifically in populations with eating disorders. Findings suggest that eating behavior is strongly influenced by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which produces the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can be influenced by alterations in gut hormones caused by a dysregulated gut microbiome. If the gut microbiome is dysregulated, HPA axis activation will be dysregulated, and the body will respond to physical and psychological stressors with abnormal amounts of cortisol, which in turn influences hunger and satiety hormone levels and alters subsequent eating behavior. Studies indicate that when the stress response is attenuated by mindfulness practices, behavior regulation improves, suggesting implications for food intake and eating behavior. This paper also explores gaps in the available data related to stress response and eating behavior, future research directions, and ways to further implement some existing mindfulness-based interventions in the field of nutrition.