The human gut microbiome is composed of an enormous number of microorganisms, generally regarded as commensal bacteria. Without this inherent microbial community, we would be unable to digest plant polysaccharides and would have trouble extracting lipids from our diet. Resident gut bacteria are an important contributor to healthy metabolism and there is significant evidence linking gut microbiota and metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes. In the past few years, neuroscience research has demonstrated the importance of microbiota in the development of brain systems that are vital to both stress reactivity and stress-related behaviours. Here we review recent literature that examines the impact of diet-induced changes in the microbiota on stress-related behaviours including anxiety and depression.
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