The bacteria living in your intestines influence all facets of your life in ways you've never even imagined...
There are 100 trillion bacteria living in your digestive tract – thats 10x the number of your own human cells in your entire body! Scientists joke, are we human or are we bacteria having a human experience?
You are essentially the host to a diverse ecosystem that affects literally thousands of your bodily functions, so many in fact that scientists consider your gut microbes as an independent organ called the Microbiome.
Food cravings, appetite, metabolism, and the shape of your body. The quality of your thoughts, sleep patterns, how well you manage stress, and even behaviours which you've identified as your "personality" can all be connected to the microbes living in your belly.
Your gut bacteria effect how you perceive the world by altering your brain's response to negative stimuli.
This was proven in the 'famous yogurt study', published in 2013 in the journal Gastroenterology. This remarkable study showed direct evidence that friendly bacteria consumed from food had a strong impact on how the brain processes information and handles stress. (1)
In short, groups of women were shown disturbing images and had their brain activity monitored to determine which areas of the brain were active. After 4 weeks, the women who ate a standard yoghurt, containing several probiotics twice a day. reacted very differently to the images vs. the control groups; they were calmer and less effected by the frightening images. There was less activity related to their emotional, cognition, and sensory processing.
Simply put, if you are anxious, have a hard time managing your stress, and easily triggered, it could be a sign that you're missing beneficial bacteria in your gut.
For example strains of bifidobacteria secret large amounts of GABA, an important neurotransmitter that returns the nervous system to a more stable state so you can weather stress better.
Dr, Perlmutter in his recent book, Brain Maker, explains how these GABA producing bacteria play a large role in the treatment and prevention of brain disorders and irritable bowel disorders by keep anxiety in check, and preventing anxiety triggered gastrointestinal disorders.