Educated individuals are more likely to have better gut health than those who are not educated to a higher level, new research shows.

A study by Landmark Edith Cowan University has found that people with a higher level of education are likely to have certain genetics that reduce the risks of gut problems.

Previously, the same researchers have discovered a connection between an individual’s brain and their gut health, otherwise known as the gut-brain axis.

Lead author Professor Simon Laws said: “Gut disorders and Alzheimer’s may not only share a common genetic predisposition but may be similarly influenced by genetic variations underpinning educational attainment.”

During the large-scale study, the team of academics looked at the genetic data of approximately 766,000 people.

They mainly analysed data on Alzheimer’s disease and gut conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcer disease, gastritis-duodenitis and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

People with more education and a better cognitive ability were less likely to develop a gut disorder, the study has reported.

Joint author Dr Emmanuel Adewuyi said: “The results support education as a possible avenue for reducing the risk of gut disorders by, for example, encouraging higher educational attainment or a possible increase in the length of schooling.

“Hence, policy efforts aimed at increasing educational attainment or cognitive training may contribute to a higher level of intelligence, which could lead to better health outcomes including a reduced risk of gut disorders.”

According to the results, gastroesophageal reflux disease is linked to the development of dementia and bad cognition.

Dr Adewuyi noted: “Gastroesophageal reflux disease may be a risk factor for cognitive impairment, so it’s important for health workers to look for signs or symptoms of cognitive dysfunction in people presenting with the gut disorder.

“This could lead to earlier detection of cognitive decline and therefore earlier interventions aimed at reducing the rate of cognitive decline.”

He added: “More studies are needed to investigate whether treatment for, cure or remission of GERD can contribute to a reduced risk of cognitive decline.”

The study has been published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

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