It is a common knowledge by now that a person’s health is deeply affected by their gut bacteria. The majority of people already know that the microbes alter metabolism, digestion, and allergies. But, the trouble comes when these microbes extend into the human brain.
Researchers around the world are investigating how the gut bacteria influence the way people think and feel.
Scientists have discovered evidence on how this assemblage from about a 1000 different bacteria species with trillions of cells that together weigh between 1 and 3 pounds could actually have the main role in autism, depression, and anxiety.
In other words, gut bacteria influences anxiety and depression.
Contrary to popular belief, mental health disorders and illnesses do not always stem from chemical imbalances within the brain. Surely, the brain’s neurochemical activity plays a huge role in many, but not in all cases of mental health disorders.
Harvard Medical School has published an article titled “The gut-brain connection” which explains the link between the gut and the human brain.
Namely, the gut is able to send signals to the brain and vice versa, stomach or intestinal pain can meddle with brain-gut and gut-brain neuronal signaling, and if the signal obstruction is severe – stomach or intestinal distress can result in stress, depression, or anxiety.
Moreover, over 90% of serotonin (a neurochemical in the brain responsible for our stable mood) is produced in our gut which is also connected to a network of neurons. In this way, the gut interacts with the brain’s central nervous system and vice versa.
Researchers at the APC Microbiome Institute at University College Cork in Ireland have been investigating the connection between biological molecules in the brain called microRNAs (miRNAs) and the gut bacteria. They found that gut bacteria significantly affect mental health.
Researchers discovered that a great number of miRNAs were altered in the brains of mice that were microbe-free previously. The mice were reared in a germ-free bubble and they started displaying abnormal anxiety levels, deficits in cognition and sociability, and increased levels of depression.
In other words, the lack of gut bacteria caused anxiety in mice. So, injecting the proper amount of gut bacteria into them has eased their anxiety levels.
Finding the healthy balance of gut bacteria is crucial for the proper function of miRNA. This is true for humans also – miRNA has a tremendous effect on a person’s anxiety levels.
Putting these findings into practice could mean a world to people suffering from anxiety disorders.
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