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  • Adriano dos Santos

The Microbiota–Gut–Brain Axis in Metabolic Syndrome and Sleep Disorders: A Systematic Review

Absolutely thrilled to share my latest publication! 📚 It’s official now… My first research ever in #neurology and #sleepmedicine has been published and in a high impact journal🙌🏻🎉🎊! It's a great feeling after about 8 months of hard work while studying and working in my clinic. Lot's of exciting new clinical tools were discovered in this research. My systematic review explores the common microbial features between metabolic syndrome (MetS) and sleep disorders, shedding light on the gut–brain axis as a crucial communication pathway. I reviewed 36 clinical trials which emphasise the role of dietary patterns, supplementation, and probiotics in influencing both MetS and sleep disturbances. 🌙💤


The Microbiota–Gut–Brain Axis in Metabolic Syndrome and Sleep Disorders: A Systematic Review

I'm so grateful to my professors at the University of Bern and The Institute for Functional Medicine for the inspiration and background. A huge shoutout to my supervisor and co-author, Serena Galiè, for her unwavering support throughout this research journey.


🌿 Key Findings:


Link to the research: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/16/3/390#

Identified potential microbial signatures correlating with sleep disturbances, particularly lower abundances of butyrate producers like Faecalibacterium.

Highlighted the impact of dietary interventions on the gut microbiota, linking them to improvements in MetS and sleep homeostasis.


Explored the connection between Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) adherence, microbial changes, and positive effects on cardiometabolic health and sleep quality.


⏱️ The Central Circadian Clock


The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) serves as the body's central circadian clock, regulating the 24-hour rhythm. Circadian clock genes, including CLOCK, BMAL1, PER, and CRY, form a feedback loop that influences glucose and fatty acid metabolism, impacting mitochondrial physiology and energy production. This central clock is closely tied to the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, contributing to sleep–wake regulation.


🧠 The Gut–Brain Axis


Peripheral organs, particularly the gut, play a significant role in sleep–wake regulation through the gut–brain axis. The afferent vagus nerve serves as a communication pathway, transmitting information about metabolic and immune activities from the gut to the brain. Neuromodulators such as acetylcholine, serotonin, and dopamine, produced and metabolized by gut microbes, influence the sleep–wake cycle. Specific microbial species, like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, contribute to the conversion of neurotransmitters, affecting sleep disorders and memory.


🤧 Immune System's Role in the Gut–Brain Axis


Microbial-derived compounds in the gut constantly trigger immune responses, influencing gut homeostasis and microbiota balance. Immune cells, stimulated by microbes, regulate host–microbial crosstalk and contribute to circadian clock regulation. The gut microbiota directly modulate the expression of circadian rhythm genes through immune pathways. Moreover, microbial metabolites, such as LPS, interact with microglia cells, inducing an inflammatory cascade that can impact sleep patterns.


💡 Insightful Revelations:


Noted the decrease in butyrate producers in both MetS and sleep disruption.

Explored the beneficial role of MedDiet in ameliorating sleep quality and metabolic parameters, targeting the insulin resistance mechanism.


🌐 Future Perspectives:


Discussed the potential of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) as a therapeutic approach for manipulating the gut microbiota in MetS and obesity.


Emphasized the need for more research to validate findings and explore personalized nutritional interventions for sleep disorders.


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