The gut-brain connection is fascinating. It involves an intimate communication between the gut and the brain, and it goes in both directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. I mean, isn’t it cool that what happens in your gut can affect your brain?
Yet another study looking at the gut-brain connection has found that gut bacteria are associated with anxiety. The researchers used an animal model to study this link, as it is easier to work out the details of these connections in animal models. Researchers found that antibiotic treatment altered the normal gut bacterial count, producing a change in behavior—the mice became anxious. They also experienced an increase in brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), linked to anxiety and depression. When the antibiotics were stopped, behavior returned to normal.
To take this one step further, the researchers added gut bacteria from mice genetically prone to be passive, to mice prone to be more active and exploratory, and vice versa. They found that by giving the mice a different set of bacteria, the mice began to behave as the mice from which the bacteria were originally isolated. One of the researchers stated, “these results lay the foundation for investigating the therapeutic potential of probiotic bacteria and their products in the treatment of behavioral disorders, particularly those associated with gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.”
Like I said, the gut-brain connection is fascinating. Did you know your gut had so much power over your health?