THE INFLUENCE OF GUT BACTERIA ON OUR MOOD

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Our human body is a host to many bacteria either good or bad. In our intestinal tract there would be atleast a trillion micro-organisms especially bacteria. These many bacteria help in digesting our food and releasing energy from our body as and when it is required. In recent times, scientists have found out something really fascinating about these microbes in our body.

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Relationship between stress levels and this gut bacteria

The gut bacteria or the bacteria found in our intestinal tract can control our moods. Dr. Stephen Collins who is a McMaster University gastroenterologist observed that people with intestinal problems often suffer from constant psychological stress. Of the people who suffered from chronic bowel infections, 80% of them experience anxiety and depression. Also, they found that people with autistic problem have abnormal levels of bacteria in their gut. This makes gives them unnecessary stress and mental tension.

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The experiment to understand this relationship

In order to understand this relationship between the brain and gut behavior scientists conducted an experiment. They interchanged the gut bacteria among different types of mice through fecal transplants and observed them. When the gut bacteria found in a timid mouse was transferred to an adventurous mouse which was always venturing outside the cage, it became very timid and in fact it didn’t even venture into the darker parts of the cage. When they transferred the gut bacteria from the adventurous one to the timid one, it became more adventurous and mischievous too.

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BDNF and its role in controlling our moods

The scientists tried to study the reason behind these strange results. They deuced that the gut bacteria was related to the level of a chemical named Brain Derived NeutrophicFactor(BDNF) in our body. This chemical, BDNF, is responsible for reducing the stress and anxiety in our body. The timid mouse which had a high amount of gut bacteria contained low levels of BDNF in its body and this caused it to experience a high amount of stress and anxiety. The vice-versa of this was found to be true in the adventurous mouse.

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This is actually an amazing discovery because this can now be used to treat stress and anxiety which were generally considered to be pure psychological problems. However there are still many people who are skeptical about this new piece of knowledge hence in the future it will subject to many more tests and questions.