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How is the gut involved in sleep?

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Gut-Brain axis
ID: The Gut-Brain Axis. A smiling gut and brain with bi-directional arrows showing the bi-directional signaling between the two.

The precursor to our sleep hormone melatonin is serotonin which is mostly produced in the gut!

Whilst serotonin made in the gut has limited access to the brain, it still appears to influence brain function and sleep...

Dysregulated gut levels of serotonin can influence sleep and contribute to mental health disorders including anxiety and depression.

The gut bug Akkermansia is involved in the systemic regulation of serotonin levels... it releases molecules (EV’s) which have access to the brain and can increase brain levels of serotonin. In a recent animal study, increased concentrations of Akkermansia in the gut increased serotonin levels in the brain!

Akkermansia EV’s did so by altering gene expression in the brain to enhance serotonin production.

(Yaghoubfar et al., 2020)

How to increase Akkermansia in the gut to support sleep and mood?

🌱 Eat a fibre rich diet diverse in colourful plant foods

🧄 Increase prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) in the diet e.g. onion, garlic, asparagus, chicory and banana

🍎 Eat red apples – the skin contains a polyphenol which Akkermansia love!


Yaghoubfar, R., Behrouzi, A., Ashrafian, F., Shahryari, A., Moradi, H. R., Choopani, S., Hadifar, S., Vaziri, F., Nojoumi, S. A., Fateh, A., Khatami, S., & Siadat, S. D. (2020). Modulation of serotonin signaling/metabolism by Akkermansia muciniphila and its extracellular vesicles through the gut-brain axis in mice. Scientific Reports, 10(1).


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