Improved recovery from nerve damage through nutrition
Intermittent fasting and the resulting change in the activity of gut bacteria could stimulate what is known as axonal regeneration, so that the recovery of damaged nerves is significantly improved.
A recent study involving researchers from Imperial College London (UCL) showed that intermittent fasting promoted axonal regeneration after sciatic nerve crush in mice. The mechanism responsible for this is due to a change in the composition of intestinal bacteria.
The results of the corresponding study can be read in the English-language journal “Nature”.
Difficulty regenerating nerve damage
The regenerative potential of neurons in the mammalian peripheral nervous system is severely limited after injury due to their low rate of axonal regeneration, the researchers explain.
Axons are extensions of nerve cells, often called neuraxons. Axons transmit impulses from nerve cells to organs and transport molecules to what is called the cellome.
Exercise can promote axonal regeneration
Factors that influence the capacity for axonal regeneration include both injury-dependent and injury-independent mechanisms. Injury-independent mechanisms also include environmental factors, such as exercise, that affect signaling pathways that promote axonal regeneration, the team reports.
Intermittent fasting affects important signaling pathways
According to experts, it is also possible to activate several of these signaling pathways, including changes in gene transcription and protein synthesis, mitochondrial metabolism and neurotrophin release, through intermittent fasting.
So far, however, it is unclear whether intermittent fasting influences axonal regenerative capacity.
Improved recovery after sciatic nerve crush
In their study, the researchers have now been able to show that intermittent fasting has a beneficial effect on axonal regeneration, at least in mice that suffered a sciatic nerve crush.
According to the team, the effect was due to a mechanism involving the Gram-positive gut microbiome and increased serum levels of the indole-3-propionic acid (IPA) metabolite derived from gut bacteria.
3-indolepropionic acid improves axonal regeneration
Experts point out that the production of 3-indolepropionic acid by the bacterium Clostridium sporogenes is necessary for effective axonal regeneration.
Administration of 3-indolepropionic acid after sciatic injury has been shown to actually significantly improve axonal regeneration and accelerate recovery of sensory function.
The microbiome-derived metabolite 3-indolepropionic acid may facilitate the regeneration and functional recovery of sensory axons through an immune-mediated mechanism.
The researchers conclude that this discovery will hopefully one day help develop new, effective treatment options for people with nerve damage. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Elisabeth Serger, Lucia Luengo-Gutierrez, Jessica S. Chadwick, Guiping Kong, Luming Zhou, et al. : Indole-3 propionate, an intestinal metabolite, promotes nerve regeneration and repair; in: Nature (published on 06/22/2022), Nature
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.