Microbiota represent the microbiome living in our Gastrointestinal Tract, these are the Bacteria that our bodies depend upon to stay alive. Think of them as a vast army that protects us against germs, breaks down foods to release energy and produce vitamins and other substances our bodies need to function normally. Bacteria have diverse interactions beyond the Gastrointestinal system including the Brain, both during our early development and later as adults. Changes in mood and anxiety may be linked to the microbiota we possess. The intertwined relationship between bacteria and certain psychological conditions such as stress and anxiety impact the Immune System. The complex interactions of our gut bacteria and our Brain may someday prove to have significant roles in the prevention or improve outcomes in certain diseases/conditions.
The relationship between Psychological stress and Physical stress on the body and vice versa is well known and how this relationship expands to involve the gut bacteria is a hot new subject in Scientific studies.
The relationship and influence of theses variables, Psychological/Physiological and Microbiota, I like to call BBB (Brain, Body, Bacteria). The relationship of these variables can be observed in Anxiety. Linking the Gut Bacteria to this process makes sense when you think about the entire picture as an intertwined process with checks and balances in constant flux.
One such example is GABA or Gamma-aminobutyric acid. This chemical is a neurotransmitter which inhibits activity in the Central Nervous System and works in the Brain to modify Physical and Psychological functions, think of GABA as a calming neurotransmitter. Low levels of GABA lead to anxiety, insomnia and poor mood. Lactobacillus rhamanosus (LGG) one of the components in Ancoraflor-Daily HealthTM is a well-researched organism and supports this concept.
A study in Ireland showed in a mice model that if LGG was fed to the mice, the specific GABA receptors associated with depression were higher and the receptors associated with stress and anxiety were lower. This is important because in situations of stress or anxiety exist, specific GABA receptors are higher and in depression specific GABA receptors are lower. This study also found the level of stress hormones to be reduced in LGG fed mice. How this relates to the overall Human condition is yet to be discovered but the fascinating piece here is the ability of a “friendly good bacteria” to modify the chemistry of the Brain in a positive manner.
A Canadian study showed how behavior in a mouse model could be influenced by disruption of existing gut flora. Our Bacterial makeup or Gut flora is unique to each of us. The human fetus has a sterile Gastrointestinal Tract. When we are born, we swallow the bacteria present in the birth canal and within days these bacteria colonize our gut. Babies born via Caesarean Section take longer to colonize their gut and the sources of the gut flora may be multiple. When we are around 2-3 years old, our flora is established and remains unique to us like a Retina scan or fingerprint. Good Bacteria in our system like Lactobacillus live mainly in our Small Intestine. The bulk of the Bacteria in our bodies live in the Colon. Research on the relationship between Probiotics and Physical/Mental Health is ongoing and hopefully the future will allow us to improve overall Health by modifying our Gut Flora. Better Balance. Better Health.TM