Thursday, January 7, 2016

Can Stress Affect Good Gut Bacteria? Ask a Squirrel!

Researchers have discovered a link between low stress and percentage of beneficial communities of micro-organisms in the gut and other regions of the body1.

While this study was conducted using red squirrels living in the wild, the same relationship between low stress and beneficial micro-organisms (e.g., good gut bacteria) in humans is probable.

Study findings show a direct inverse relationship between stress and the type of micro-organisms present. High stress increased the non-beneficial micro-organisms, while low stress correlated with a higher percentage of good micro-organisms.

Implications for Humans

What implications does this have for humans? Obviously, we know based on thousands of studies that chronic high stress is typically harmful for health. Our physical, mental, and emotional well-being suffer when a chronic high-stress environment is experienced.

Options for People

So what do we do? Research shows meditation and other stress lowering practices have proven to be beneficial for enhancing health and emotional well-being.

If - as this study suggests - high stress is associated with a less than beneficial balance between good and bad micro-organisms in the gut, exploring the use of a high-quality probiotic may be beneficial if stress is a problem for you. As always, consult your physician before taking any supplements, over-the-counter, or prescription medications.


Link between stress, unhealthy microbiomes discovered:

Journal reference

  1. Mason R. Stothart, Colleen B. Bobbie, Albrecht I. Schulte-Hostedde, Rudy Boonstra, Rupert Palme, Nadia C. S. Mykytczuk, Amy E. M. Newman. Stress and the microbiome: linking glucocorticoids to bacterial community dynamics in wild red squirrelsBiology Letters, January 2015 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0875

Stephen Carter
Stress Solutions, LLC

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