Does Gut Bacteria Shape Our Thought and Behavior?

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Does Gut Bacteria Shape Our Thought and Behavior?


The microbiota is a collection of microbial legions and these are vital to maintaining our immunity, metabolism, digestion and physical health. Additionally, these microbial legions are the producers of numerous compounds that are essential for our body.

With this scientists world over are keen on discovering the vital link that our gut bacteria plays in shaping our thoughts and behavior, surprisingly these microbes that live in our gut may be responsible in sending signals to brain and controlling our brains altogether.

Let us find out all about it.

What does research say about gut and brain connection?

Hsiao is leading researcher at the lab at UCLA where she is exploring the connection between microorganisms and their functionality affecting the brain development of fetus, cognition and neurological conditions like epilepsy and depression.

Her research explores the influence of microbes on our brains and our behavior.

Her research highlights the following findings:

  • Specific group of microbes are responsible for modulating the immune system that influences the brain.
  • These gut microbes are also producing certain molecules that send signals to neurons for regulating their activity.
  • Gut microbes are regulating the neuron development that highly impacts the brain circuits and in addition behavior too.
  • Gut microbes are able to regulate biochemical production such as serotonin production and stimulation of neuronal activity.

The research is vital in providing evidence related to the link of microbes as vital communicators to our brains through different pathways including immunity and biochemical.

The Vagus nerve too is the fastest route that is all about forming lightning fast communication between internal organs, gut and the brain.

As per the findings the bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB1, was observed to enhance the mood of the anxious and depressed mice.

However, the effect would cease to exist when the pathway of vagus nerve was blocked; this suggests that the pathway is vital in providing the effective communication by the bacteria.

 Numerous research conclusions are drawn through the field of mice experiments:

  • A mice reared in sterile conditions (without microbiota) they are seen to be prone to anxiousness and become confined from any social interaction as compared to other group of mice with microbiota intact.
  • Mice in sterile conditions and those given antibiotics were found hyperactive and prone to indulge in risky behavior, not able to learn properly or learn something new.
  • Antibiotics were seen to reduce the microbiota while probiotics are observed to have enhanced the microbiota.

Is the research enough?

It is hard to conclude or provide concrete evidence sighting the research that is done on animals as human brain is highly complex and much developed as compared to a rodent.

While there might be some similarities that are capable of offering clues such as bacteria is beneficial in enhancing the mood and affecting the behavior positively.

It could be that when we interact with others it may help enhance the bacteria.

Looking at the communicative microbes in rodents it helps in understanding the process of providing new treatments for mental health conditions on a ground-breaking level.

For instance it is possible to provide congenial environment to the good bacteria through the use of psychobiotics that will in turn help address numerous mental health conditions thereby providing a viable treatment.

Psybiotics is the term used for treatment based on microbiota that is beneficial to our brain.

There are still numerous other factors to be considered such as how different strains of bacteria are affected while some are positively affected others do not respond this way. It is essential to understand how and why?