A preliminary study warns against chronic constipation: it could be a harbinger of cognitive decline. Less than three bowel movements per week would thus be a harbinger of an “older” brain.
A chronic constipation – less than three bowel movements per week – could be indicative of cognitive decline more specifically Alzheimer’s disease. In any case, this is the finding of a study carried out on more than 110,000 American adults.
Compared to their counterparts, people affected by constipation have generally performed less well on tests of memory and of reflection, which is equivalent to three additional years of aging. And they were 73% more likely to see their cognitive abilities decline.
THE results were presented on Wednesday July 19, 2023 during a meeting of theAlzheimer Association in Amsterdam.
Cognitive decline can be seen in the gut microbiome
The study does not prove that constipation causes deterioration more fast of the brain. However, it demonstrates that intestinal health is rather revealing of brain health.
One possibility, the researchers explain, is that constipation and cognition are linked via the gut microbiome. The latter is composed of many bacteria – good bacteria essential for intestinal health – which play an important role in all of our bodily functions.
This isn’t the first study to link gut problems to brain health. Recent research published on June 23 found that people with early markers Alzheimer’s disease (abnormal protein buildup in the brain) also had gut microbiomes that looked different from others.
“These findings underscore the importance for clinicians to discuss gut health, especially constipation, with their older patients. said Dr. Wang, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
What to eat to fight constipation?
Dr. Wang takes the opportunity to deliver advice to fight constipation and improve intestinal health: eat more foods rich in fibers such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans practice exercise regularly.
Other research has linked these same lifestyle habits to a lower risk of age-related cognitive decline and dementia.