Concussions can cause changes in gut bacteria

Researchers at the Houston Methodist Research Institute have discovered that brain injuries, such as concussions, can change your gut bacteria.

From New Atlas:

The Houston Methodist team investigated this further by tracking 33 college football players over the course of a season, collecting blood, stool and saliva samples at three intervals along the way to build a picture of their gut microbiomes.

Following instances of concussion, the team found a decrease in levels of two bacterial species that are normally abundant in healthy individuals. They also found correlations between proteins linked to traumatic brain injuries in the blood and bacteria linked to brain injuries in the stool. These may be the result of inflammation, caused by the concussion, that alters the proteins and molecules circulating through the body, breaching the intestinal barrier and reshaping gut bacteria and metabolism.

Study author Sonia Villapol says, "Until your gut microbiome has returned to normal, you haven't recovered. This is why studying the gut is so useful. It doesn't lie. And that is why there is so much interest in using it for diagnostic purposes."