Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) are important for our health because they support our gut lining and prevent inflammation. Our gut microbes ferment or break down fiber from carbohydrates we eat to make SCFAs.

David M. Holtzman, MD, Distinguished Professor of Neurology at the Washington University, St. Louis, conducted mice studies to determine the connection of SCFAs with the brain, according to a January 13, 2023 Neuroscience News article.

SCFAs were scarce in mice whose gut microbiomes were altered by antibiotic treatment. They also proved to be neurodegenerative.

“We gave young mice antibiotics for just a week, and we saw a permanent change in their gut microbiomes, their immune responses, and how much neurodegeneration related to a protein called tau they experienced with age,” according to senior author Dr. Holtzman,

Tau is a protein that helps stabilize the internal skeleton of neurons in the brain. Antibiotics can mutate the brain protein tau, which builds up and causes damage to neurons.

Antibiotics were linked to neurodegeneration in mice study.

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