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Gut Feelings... How Bacteria Can Explain Your Moods

ACNJ Blog

Wellness insights from Acupuncture Center of NJ, providing holistic complementary mind-body-heart-healing since 1986, in Morristown, NJ!

Gut Feelings... How Bacteria Can Explain Your Moods

Peter Kadar

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We all want to feel alive and well, and go through great lengths to do so often with disappointing results. I’ve discovered a rather simple and inexpensive way to support my well-being which I am excited to share with you today!

Are you aware that the number and type of microbes in your digestive tract can affect your mind and your moods?  I wasn't, not until I tuned into Radiolab on WNYC-FM (93.9) last Saturday while tooling around Morristown, NJ accomplishing weekend tasks. Bacteria 2 As disconnected as it might seem, neurobiologists are discovering that the type and number of microbes in the gut appear to have a direct correlation on our states of mind. Apparently these little life forms create specific chemicals which can lower our anger threshold, decrease anxiety, and alleviate depression along with a host of other bio impressive influences. Up to 90% of the serotonin, an important neurotransmitter, in our bodies is manufactured by these little guys in our guts.

The bacteria in the gut, collectively known at the "microbiome", consists of trillions of single cell organisms. While the study of the microbiome is relatively new, findings on the bacteria in the guts of rodents have shown to "influence neural development, brain chemistry, and a wide range of behavioral phenomena, including emotional behavior, pain perception and how the stress system responds.

Research has found, for example, that tweaking the balance between beneficial and disease-causing bacteria in an animal's gut can alter its brain chemistry and lead it to become either more bold or more anxious. The brain can also exert a powerful influence on gut bacteria; as many studies have shown, even mild stress can tip the microbial balance in the gut, making the host more vulnerable to infectious disease and triggering a cascade of molecular reactions that feedback to the central nervous system.

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Such findings offer the tantalizing possibility of using beneficial, or probiotic, bacteria to treat mood and anxiety disorders—either by administering beneficial microbes (Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria) themselves or by developing drugs that mimic their metabolic functions. The new research also hints at new ways of managing chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorders that are commonly accompanied by anxiety and depression, and that also appear to involve abnormal gut microbiota." Source APA http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 12.29.09 PM Scientists exploring the human gut refer to it as the "second brain." It is the only organ with an independent nervous system.  Our gut wall has been found to have an intricate network of 100 million neurons embedded in it.  These neurons are hardwired into our brains and visa versa through the vagus nerve. The gut is so independent and intelligent that it continues its vital activities even when the vagus nerve is severed.   It is the only organ that does not need the brain to do its job.

Each of us is a trillionaire when it comes to our stash of microbes in our guts.   Our digestive wealth produces so much more than what we eliminate!  Now this is some good sh*t to know .... Kombucha, Yogurt or Microflora caps anyone?

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Lisa Brick

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For more info:

www.researchgate.net/publication/26252541_Mood_and_gut_feelings/file/d912f5102984c7d40d.pdf

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120612115812.htm

Top Illustration by Andrew Rae

Post by Lisa Brick