The Gut-Brain Axis: How Bacteria in Your Belly Are Messing With Your Mind

You try to eat a balanced diet, move your body often and get enough sleep, all in the name of good health. But what if we told you that it’s not really you who is in control—but tiny organisms that control your body’s functions? 

Each of us coexist with more than 100 trillion microbes, mostly bacteria, that live on us and within us, shares Will DePaolo, Ph.D., director of the UW Medicine Center for Microbiome Sciences & Therapeutics. 

“For every human cell there’s that same number of bacteria,” says DePaolo.

Together, these microbes make up the human microbiome. And each part of you, like your skin, bodily fluids, lungs and gastrointestinal tracts, have their own vastly different community of bacteria, known as a microbiota. Scientists like DePaolo have been particularly interested in studying the gut microbiota because of the links they’re uncovering between the gut and the immune system, brain and behavior.

Read the Right as Rain by UW Medicine article