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We have always thought of ourselves as an organism. New studies point towards us being Superorganisms, with many organisms teaming up to become what we define as 'us'.
There are trillions of bacteria, virii, and fungi in our stomach, skin, and tissues, and they are collectively known as your Microbiome.
Our state of mind gets affected by our gut bacteria, which is part of our Microbiome.
Probiotics are live bacterial supplements and Prebiotics are the dietary fiber that promotes bacterial growth. In various experiments, scientists have been able to alter our stress response, anxiety levels and reduce mental health problems by administering Probiotics/Prebiotics in our stomach.
Psychobiotics is an upcoming class of medicines geared towards promoting psychological health through the alteration of your microbiota (Gut Bacteria).
Doctors have known since long that certain mental health problems do have their origin in the gut, like inflammation, but a detailed study on mice is now being done, with large-scale studies on humans in the offing.
The link between the brain the gut works in three ways:
New kinds of treatments related to our microbiome are now possible in areas where medicine has been unpleasant or has some unwanted side effects.
For example: Children having gastrointestinal problems, show improvements in mental performance after being treated by a transplant of microbes.
A good, varied diet is essential for good gut health. Health Experts recommend the Mediterranean diet, which has:
It is also crucial to avoid sugar, cakes, and red meat.
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There has been a lot of hype around the health benefits of prebiotics and probiotics in recent years, but while they're increasingly used in treatments including inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, several reviews suggest there needs to be further research on which strains and dosages are effective. Recent studies have found some people are even immune to probiotics.
Gut microbiota has a major role to play in the health and function of the GI tract, with evidence that conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often coincide with altered microbiota. But it also plays a much wider role in our health, and this is largely determined in the first few years of life.
The brain and the gut are linked and in constant communication, and about 100 million nerve cells reside in the gut.
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Exposure and consumption of good bacteria are essential for a balanced brain, as it reduces inflammation and makes us more resilient to depressive states and trauma.
These new findings point towards better ways of treatment for psychiatric disorders. It is essential to take care of your gut bacteria for better mental health and a sharper brain.
Research found the following difference in stomach microbes of different individuals:
Due to the new kinds of microbes discovered in villagers, all the previous research on diet and microbes, which used the baseline data of the Western civilization microbe, thought to be the healthy and normal microbe, is now incorrect.
The Western world has stomach microbial communities that could digest junk food and might re-diversify and recover (to a limited extent) if we just ate more whole grains and veggies.