I am fascinated about all the research in the gut biome and our relationship with the microbes that live inside of us. I am motivated to figure out how to guide clients in improving their mood through their nutrition. I am not a professional nutritionist but I try very hard to stay up on the latest research. Subsequently I ran across this article in Psychology Today, October 2017 issue, pg 31-32 on how the microbes in your gut affect your mood.
There were 2 studies mentioned that as I scanned the information grabbed my attention. The first one was on the transplanting fecal matter from depressed patients into germ-free rats. The rats then began to develop symptoms of anxiety and anhedonia (not taking interest in the usual things one finds interesting). The other study involved giving patients prebiotics (material that enhances the grown of beneficial microbes in the gut.) The researchers discovered one particular type of prebiotics ( galacto-oligosaccharides – GSOs) to decrease cortisol and increase a patient’s attention to positive events.
However what was most intriguing as I looked deeper into the article was the theory of how important fiber is to our gut biome. Apparently fibrous material from plants which are more difficult to digest help feed beneficial microbes. This fermentation that occurs releases energy, gases, and metabolites called “short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs are one of the ways our gut communicates with our brain, signaling molecules throughout the body to mobilize hormones and activate nerve pathways to everything from body weight to mood states. Apparently the material present from these prebiotics in the fiber is extremely important for wellness and something our general Western diet lacks. Per article our ancestors consumed around 100 grams of fiber while we consume currently around 15 grams of fiber a day. This is just another added point toward why nutrition is so important to limiting our stress and increasing well-being.