An extensive body of evidence documents the importance of the gut microbiome both in health and in a variety of human diseases. Cell and animal studies describing this relationship abound, whilst clinical studies exploring the associations between changes in gut microbiota and the corresponding metabolites with neurodegeneration in the human brain have only begun to emerge more recently. Further, the findings of such studies are often difficult to translate into simple clinical applications that result in measurable health outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to appraise the literature on a select set of faecal biomarkers from a clinician’s perspective. This practical review aims to examine key physiological processes that influence both gastrointestinal, as well as brain health, and to discuss how tools such as the characterisation of commensal bacteria, the identification of potential opportunistic, pathogenic and parasitic organisms and the quantification of gut microbiome biomarkers and metabolites can help inform clinical decisions of nutrition and lifestyle medicine practitioners.
Keywords: lifestyle medicine; microbiome; microbiota-gut-brain axis; neuroprotection; precision nutrition; real-world data.