Do you want to know what the link is between binge drinking and the gut microbiome? Recent research has shown that young people who binge drink show alterations in the gut microbiome, which could have a major impact on their health and wellbeing. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the research and explore how these changes in the gut microbiome could be affecting young people’s mental health.
Binge drinking is a common practice among young people, with one in three young Europeans engaging in frequent binge drinking. This type of alcohol misuse is linked to an increased risk of developing alcohol use disorder and cognitive alterations that can persist into adulthood.
To investigate the potential link between the gut microbiome and social cognition, impulsivity and craving in young binge drinkers, researchers at APC Microbiome Ireland examined 71 young people. They found that binge drinking was associated with distinct microbiome alterations and emotional recognition difficulties.
The study also found that associations were present for several microbiome species linked to emotional processing and impulsivity. Furthermore, researchers identified a strong link between cravings and alterations in microbiome composition and neuroactive potential over time.
These findings suggest that the gut microbiome plays a key role in brain and behaviour, and that changes in the microbiome composition could be used as early biomarkers of dependence. The study also supports the development of microbiota-targeted diets or interventions to positively modulate gut-brain communication during the vulnerable period of adolescence before an addiction develops.
By understanding the link between binge drinking, the gut microbiome and mental health, we can take steps to protect young people from the long-term effects of alcohol misuse.