Fearless Gut

Should I follow my brain or my heart? How about my gut?!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with The Loh Down on Science.

Our guts are filled with microbiomes made of viruses, bacteria, and fungi. These microorganisms have a HUGE impact on our health. Even small changes affect immunity and inflammation. But can they also influence our brain?

Coco Chu from Cornell University and her team studied two groups of mice. One group took antibiotics that significantly depleted their gut microbiome. The second kept their normal microbiome.

The researchers then played the mice a tune before giving them a mild electrical shock. The mice learned to associate the tune with the dreaded buzz, freezing in fear.

Next, the researchers played them the tune – without the shock.

After three shock-free days  the normal mice started to forget! They wouldn’t always freeze when hearing the tune! Mice with the scrubbed biomes? Still fearful!

The researchers think their healthy microbiome helped mice forget the upsetting experience. They believe these findings can be applied to treating mental health disorders, like PTSD.

Rough day? Better treat YOUR gut with a steak dinner tonight!