Early gut bacteria linked to happiness in adulthood
Posted 11 months ago by Jacob in General Health News
Scientists from the University College Cork (UCC) have discovered a link between brain levels of serotonin, the “happy” hormone responsible for the regulation of mood and emotion, and the amount of bacteria in the gut during early life. This new research, due to be published in the international journal Molecular Psychiatry, shows that normal adult brain function depends on the presence of gut microbiota during our early development.
In times of stress, anxiety and depression the body’s production of serotonin decreases, the most clinically effective antidepressant drugs work by encouraging the body to produce serotonin again.
The research team at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC observed germ-free mice and found that the absence of a fully formed gut microbiota during early life significantly affected serotonin concentrations in the brain at adulthood. The trial also found that this affected male mice more than females.
Interestingly, the scientists then attempted to colonise the animal’s intestinal tracts with probiotics, they found that the central nervous changes, particularly those linked with serotonin production, could not be reversed.
Previous studies have shown a gut-brain relationship and how the health of the gut can affect brain activity and behaviour. Lead author Dr Gerard Clarke commented on his team’s findings, “We’re really excited by these findings, although we always believed that the microbiota was essential for our general health, our results also highlight how important our tiny friends are for our mental wellbeing.”
Reference: Clarke, G et al. (2012) The microbiome-gut-brain axis during early life regulates the hippocampal serotonergic system in a sex-dependent manner. Mol. Psychiatry.
There are no comments yet, be the first!