I found this in our archives:
That question links to a Scientific American article. The article reminds us how intimately the gut and brain are connected. The gist of the article is that "the bacteria that inhabit our intestines, have a significant impact on brain development and subsequent adult behavior." I've read that being inoculated with good gut bacteria early in life is important for brain development and I'm wondering if there is hope for the many of us that might not have gotten those good bugs from mom, or perhaps from eating dirt. The Scientific American article isn't encouraging:
Pettersson’s team next asked whether the influence of gut microbes on the brain was reversible and, since the gut is colonized by microbes soon after birth, whether there was evidence that gut microbes influenced the development of the brain. They found that colonizing an adult germ-free animal with normal gut bacteria had no effect on their behavior. However, if germ free animals were colonized early in life, these effects could be reversed. This suggests that there is a critical period in the development of the brain when the bacteria are influential.
A recent article in Science News, Early Gut Bacteria Regulate Happiness, gives the same message as the Scientific American article:
ScienceDaily (June 12, 2012) — UCC scientists have shown that brain levels of serotonin, the 'happy hormone' are regulated by the amount of bacteria in the gut during early life. Their research is being published June 12 in the international psychiatry journal, Molecular Psychiatry. This research shows that normal adult brain function depends on the presence of gut microbes during development. Serotonin, the major chemical involved in the regulation of mood and emotion, is altered in times of stress, anxiety and depression and most clinically effective antidepressant drugs work by targeting this neurochemical.
And, again, a discouraging message:
Finally, when the scientists colonized the animals with bacteria prior to adulthood, they found that many of the central nervous system changes, especially those related to serotonin, could not be reversed indicating a permanent imprinting of the effects of absence of gut flora on brain function.
Do you know of any studies that contradict the despairing message that you can't fix the gut bug ecosystem as an adult. Have any of you found eating lots of fermented foods and/or taking probiotics to be helpful?