Gut and Paste

Woman stressed out with hands in her head

Stressed? You have GUT to relax!

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

Money! Politics! Global warming! Stress is abundant in our everyday lives. Recent studies show that certain foods affect our microbiomes — that is, our gut bacteria. Foods like red meat, artificial sweeteners, and fried foods are suspected to impact gut health. But… what about MENTAL health?

Grégoire Chevalier and colleagues at the Institut Pasteur in France investigated.

Chevalier stressed out mice by changing bedding, odors, and lighting. The researchers then transplanted gut bacteria from stressed mice into healthy mice. They also did the reverse. After eight weeks, Chevalier monitored mouse behavior and body chemistry for signs of stress.

Results? The once-healthy mice showed MORE stressed behaviors! Their mood control chemicals decreased by as much as FIFTY PERCENT. When healthy bacteria were transplanted into stressed mice, the reverse happened – nervous mice started chill-axin’!

Chevalier’s findings suggest that a happy gut could mean a happier you!

See? Stress isn’t ALL you! Just take it MICE and easy for a while. And lay off the pastrami fries!

Reference: Chevalier, G., Siopi, E., Guenin-Macé, L., Pascal, M., Laval, T., Rifflet, A., Boneca, I. G., Demangel, C., Colsch, B., Pruvost, A., Chu-Van, E., Messager, A., Leulier, F., Lepousez, G., Eberl, G., & Lledo, P.-M. (2020). Effect of gut microbiota on depressive-like behaviors in mice is mediated by the endocannabinoid system. Nature Communications, 11(1), 6363.