Need more evidence that what goes on in your gut greatly affects what happens in the rest of your body? Here’s information recently reported in the scientific journal Gastroenterology demonstrating that our gut bacteria play an important role in our emotional responses.
Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, Associate Professor at the Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, and a group of other researchers there investigated whether consumption of a fermented milk product containing probiotics (FMPP) would affect activity in brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation.
The researchers divided the 36 healthy female participants into three groups. One group received a placebo twice daily for four weeks. A second group received an unfermented milk product twice daily for four weeks. The third group received a fermented milk product containing various kinds of probiotics twice daily for four weeks.
The FMPP given to the third group contained Bifidobacterium animalis subsp Lactis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis subsp Lactis.
At the beginning of the study and again at its end, all participants underwent a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study of their brains to measure both resting brain activity as well as how the brain responded to an emotional event, such as seeing pictures of angry or scared people.
Results showed that a four-week intake of a fermented milk product containing probiotics positively affected mid-brain activity in regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation. (Tillisch, 2013)
In other words, the brains of the women who consumed the fermented, probiotic-rich milk product became smarter and happier in just four weeks!
This important study is the first to show that changes in human gut bacteria can have a profound effect on how the brain interprets the environment.
As reported in Medscape Medical News, Dr. Cameron Meier, Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry at UCLA’s School of Medicine commented on the study, stating:
The knowledge that signals are sent from the gut microbiome to the brain and that they can be modulated by dietary changes will hopefully lead to more research aimed at finding new strategies to prevent or treat digestive, mental and neurological disorders.
Previous research has shown that the gut microorganisms of laboratory rats can be manipulated, causing the animals to become either timid or aggressive. This information has profound implications about our modern diet as well as our generally aggressive over usage of antibiotics which kill good bacteria along with the pathogenic ones living in our guts.
The Standard American Diet (SAD), consisting mostly of foods poor in probiotics, and decades of physician-prescribed over use of antibiotics along with the heavy load of antibiotics fed to animals we eat and the products made from them, contribute to the increased rates of depression, anxiety and attention deficit problems that are rampant in modern Western societies. (HealthFreedoms.org, 2014)
It’s time to concentrate on repairing our damaged guts with probiotics to restore our health.
Sour, fermented milk products such as yogurt, kefir, and labne (kefir cheese) have been consumed for centuries to improve vitality and health. Hippocrates, the Greek physician born in 460 BC and the father of modern medicine, used liquid whey to strengthen immune resistance.
Kefir, a fermented milk product derived from globules of bacteria and yeast known as “grains,” has a long history in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. The word kefir is derived from the Turkish word meaning good feeling – a good description for what fermented milk does for the entire body.
More than a century ago, Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff, a Ukranian biologist, zoologist and protozoologist best known for his pioneering research into the immune system, suggested that yogurt contributed to the 87 year average lifespan of Bulgarians. He hypothesized that the consumption of live lactic acid bacteria in yogurt suppressed the multiplication of putrefactive bacteria in the large intestine.
His hypothesis has been borne out by modern research.
I strongly concur with adding kefir and yogurt to your diet for their useful microbes – gut friendly probiotics.
You’ll find kefir in the dairy section of many food stores. The plain version is healthier than the flavored kinds, which contain added sugars. And organic is preferable to non-organic (made from GMO milk).
If you’re buying yogurt, make sure it contains “live cultures” or you won’t get much probiotic benefit from it. The yellowish liquid on the top of the yogurt is the liquid whey. Again, plain is healthier than the flavored versions containing added sugars and organic is preferable to non-organic (GMO).
You can also easily make your own kefir and yogurt, preferably from organic milk.
Yogurt strains like Viili and Matsoni are cultured at room temperature, eliminating the need for a yogurt maker. Cultures for Health offers an abundance of yogurt starters.
Homemade kefir contains a wide variety of strains, including the four strains of probiotic used in the UCLA study: Bifidobacterium animalis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis. Once you have the starter grains, also available at Cultures for Health, you can culture your milk for years to come. (HandPickedNation.com, 2013)
WISDOM FROM HIPPOCRATES, GREEK PHYSICIAN WHO LIVED 460-377 BC – THE FATHER OF MODERN MEDICINE
FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE:
Cultures for Health. A online source for many food culture starters. See: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/
Handpickednation.com. (2013). Fermented Milk: For the Gut and the Brain. See: http://www.handpickednation.com/fermented-milk-for-the-gut-and-the-brain/
HealthFreedoms.org. (2014). New Study Shows How Gut Bacteria Affect How You See the World. See: http://www.healthfreedoms.org/new-study-shows-how-gut-bacteria-affect-how-you-see-the-world/
Metchnikoff, E. 1907. Essais optimistes. Paris. The prolongation of life. Optimistic studies. Translated and edited by P. C. Mitchell. London: Heinemann, 1907.
Tillisch, K. et al. (2013). Consumption of Fermented Milk Product With Probiotc Modulates Brain Activity. Gastroenterology, 144:7, 1394-1401. See: http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(13)00292-8/abstract
© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.