More Fat, Less Stress

Euh! A lock of grey hair! I blame my teenagers.

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

Worse than going grey, stress-induced inflammation can cause problems like allergies or depression.

But there’s hope in the strangest form! Mycobacterium vaccae, a species of bacteria found in soil, actually REDUCES inflammation. But how?

David Smith from the University of Colorado Boulder thinks the answer could be…FAT! He and his team found that this friendly bacteria produces a beneficial fat, called a triglyceride. To test this, Smith grew white blood cells in the presence of the triglyceride. He then observed how the cells responded to stress caused by toxins.

Results? More fat equals less stress! The triglyceride-grown immune cells produced fewer alarm signals that trigger inflammation. Smith thinks the beneficial fat mimics a naturally occurring molecule, telling the immune system that “everything is okay.”

In the future, doctors may prescribe this bacteria to treat stress-related diseases! But for now, try getting your Mycobacterium fix naturally through soil!

Seriously! A little gardening works wonders! Also, butter, right? Okay no.