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Can Stress Counteract the Good Effects of Healthy Eating?

Can Stress Counteract the Good Effects of Healthy Eating?


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Stressors seem to affect the way your body reacts to dietary fat

Stress can negatively impact a seemingly healthy diet

A new study from the journal Molecular Psychiatry found evidence that daily stress can negate the effects of healthy eating. Does that mean that a frustrating morning commute or a difficult day at work really tricks the body into thinking that kale Caesar salad is a cheesesteak?

Well, not exactly. The double-blind study recruited 58 healthy women to test the impact of daily stressors on inflammatory responses to high-fat meals. The experiment looked at two types of fat: saturated fats, like the ones found in meat and dairy, which can be pro-inflammatory and lead to tissue damage in vital organs; and oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, found in olive and other vegetable oils and in poultry fat, which has the opposite effect, and can actually reduce internal inflammation.

Click here to view the 5 Drinks That Reduce Stress Slideshow

To determine whether stress made the body react to monounsaturated fat as if it were saturated fat, the experiment required that each woman eat two almost identical meals of eggs, turkey sausage, and biscuits and gravy, on two separate occasions, over the span of one to four weeks. The only difference between the two meals was the ratio of saturated fat to monounsaturated oleic acid. The researchers used a standardized, in-person interview called the Daily Inventory of Stressful Events, to quantify the participant’s level of prior day stress, and also took blood samples before and after each meal to measure complicated indicators of inflammation such as C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1.

The results of the blood tests showed that the bodies of the unstressed women reacted differently to both meals, with indicators of inflammation rising after eating the meal higher in saturated fat (as was expected), but the blood tests of the “stressed” women showed that their bodies reacted similarly to both meals, suggesting that their high levels of stress negated the anti-inflammatory properties of the oleic acid. Although this study used only a small sample size, its findings demonstrate the possibility that stress can negatively impact a seemingly healthy diet.


How fiber and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

In the stressful world we inhabit, many of us are keen to protect our bodies from the harmful effects that stress can produce. A new study hints that a high-fiber diet might go some way to achieving this.

Share on Pinterest A new study looks deeper at links between gut bacteria and stress.

The bacteria that live in our gut are as numerous as the cells in our body. As medical research progresses, the influence that these billions of tiny creatures have on our health is becoming ever more apparent.

It comes as no surprise that they might play a role in gastrointestinal issues, but the microbiome’s influence flies much further afield.

Most recently, it has become apparent that there is a significant relationship between gut bacteria and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although the thought of a microorganism in our intestines affecting our mental well-being seems like a leap, the gut and brain are deeply entwined. As an example, most people will know how a nerve-wracking situation can influence the speed of our bowels and, vice versa, how being hungry can cast a shadow over our mood.

A troubled brain can inform the gut, and a troubled gut can inform the brain.

Stress, although it is a mental state, can physically affect our gastrointestinal system and the bacterial residents within it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can affect gut bacteria to a similar degree as a high-fat diet while other studies have shown that reducing the number of bacteria in the gut can produce stress-induced activity in mice.

So, it seems that the road runs both ways: stress can alter gut bacteria, and gut bacteria can influence stress levels. It is a complicated web.

A recent piece of research, published in The Journal of Physiology, takes a fresh look at how gut bacteria are involved in gut health problems induced by stress. The work was carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland.

The team of scientists was interested in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Gut bacteria produce SCFAs when they digest fiber the cells of the colon then use SCFAs as their primary source of energy, making them vital for good gut health.

The researchers found that when they introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, stress and anxiety-based behaviors were significantly reduced.

After demonstrating that SCFAs reduce anxiety, they wanted to understand how these small molecules influenced physical, stress-related gut damage.

Known as a “leaky” gut, high levels of stress over time increase the intestine’s permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.

The researchers found that by introducing SCFAs, they reduced the gut leakiness caused by persistent stress.

“ There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now.”

Lead author, Prof. John F. Cryan

Fruits, vegetables, and grains naturally contain high levels of fiber. Although this study was conducted on mice, the inference is that a high-fiber diet might prompt gut bacteria to produce more SCFAs — thereby bolstering our gut’s natural defenses against the damage caused by stress.

Of course, plenty more research will be necessary before that conclusion can be written in stone as Prof. Cryan says, “It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.”

Future work will also need to dig deeper to get a better understanding of exactly how SCFAs provide these benefits. Unwrapping the molecular shenanigans behind the scenes is likely to be challenging.

The authors hope that the current findings will, eventually, help in the “development of microbiota-targeted therapies for stress-related disorders.”

However, for now, attempting to minimize stress in one’s life while upping consumption of fruit and veg is likely to be a sensible recommendation, whether it impacts levels of SCFAs or not.


How fiber and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

In the stressful world we inhabit, many of us are keen to protect our bodies from the harmful effects that stress can produce. A new study hints that a high-fiber diet might go some way to achieving this.

Share on Pinterest A new study looks deeper at links between gut bacteria and stress.

The bacteria that live in our gut are as numerous as the cells in our body. As medical research progresses, the influence that these billions of tiny creatures have on our health is becoming ever more apparent.

It comes as no surprise that they might play a role in gastrointestinal issues, but the microbiome’s influence flies much further afield.

Most recently, it has become apparent that there is a significant relationship between gut bacteria and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although the thought of a microorganism in our intestines affecting our mental well-being seems like a leap, the gut and brain are deeply entwined. As an example, most people will know how a nerve-wracking situation can influence the speed of our bowels and, vice versa, how being hungry can cast a shadow over our mood.

A troubled brain can inform the gut, and a troubled gut can inform the brain.

Stress, although it is a mental state, can physically affect our gastrointestinal system and the bacterial residents within it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can affect gut bacteria to a similar degree as a high-fat diet while other studies have shown that reducing the number of bacteria in the gut can produce stress-induced activity in mice.

So, it seems that the road runs both ways: stress can alter gut bacteria, and gut bacteria can influence stress levels. It is a complicated web.

A recent piece of research, published in The Journal of Physiology, takes a fresh look at how gut bacteria are involved in gut health problems induced by stress. The work was carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland.

The team of scientists was interested in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Gut bacteria produce SCFAs when they digest fiber the cells of the colon then use SCFAs as their primary source of energy, making them vital for good gut health.

The researchers found that when they introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, stress and anxiety-based behaviors were significantly reduced.

After demonstrating that SCFAs reduce anxiety, they wanted to understand how these small molecules influenced physical, stress-related gut damage.

Known as a “leaky” gut, high levels of stress over time increase the intestine’s permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.

The researchers found that by introducing SCFAs, they reduced the gut leakiness caused by persistent stress.

“ There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now.”

Lead author, Prof. John F. Cryan

Fruits, vegetables, and grains naturally contain high levels of fiber. Although this study was conducted on mice, the inference is that a high-fiber diet might prompt gut bacteria to produce more SCFAs — thereby bolstering our gut’s natural defenses against the damage caused by stress.

Of course, plenty more research will be necessary before that conclusion can be written in stone as Prof. Cryan says, “It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.”

Future work will also need to dig deeper to get a better understanding of exactly how SCFAs provide these benefits. Unwrapping the molecular shenanigans behind the scenes is likely to be challenging.

The authors hope that the current findings will, eventually, help in the “development of microbiota-targeted therapies for stress-related disorders.”

However, for now, attempting to minimize stress in one’s life while upping consumption of fruit and veg is likely to be a sensible recommendation, whether it impacts levels of SCFAs or not.


How fiber and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

In the stressful world we inhabit, many of us are keen to protect our bodies from the harmful effects that stress can produce. A new study hints that a high-fiber diet might go some way to achieving this.

Share on Pinterest A new study looks deeper at links between gut bacteria and stress.

The bacteria that live in our gut are as numerous as the cells in our body. As medical research progresses, the influence that these billions of tiny creatures have on our health is becoming ever more apparent.

It comes as no surprise that they might play a role in gastrointestinal issues, but the microbiome’s influence flies much further afield.

Most recently, it has become apparent that there is a significant relationship between gut bacteria and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although the thought of a microorganism in our intestines affecting our mental well-being seems like a leap, the gut and brain are deeply entwined. As an example, most people will know how a nerve-wracking situation can influence the speed of our bowels and, vice versa, how being hungry can cast a shadow over our mood.

A troubled brain can inform the gut, and a troubled gut can inform the brain.

Stress, although it is a mental state, can physically affect our gastrointestinal system and the bacterial residents within it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can affect gut bacteria to a similar degree as a high-fat diet while other studies have shown that reducing the number of bacteria in the gut can produce stress-induced activity in mice.

So, it seems that the road runs both ways: stress can alter gut bacteria, and gut bacteria can influence stress levels. It is a complicated web.

A recent piece of research, published in The Journal of Physiology, takes a fresh look at how gut bacteria are involved in gut health problems induced by stress. The work was carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland.

The team of scientists was interested in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Gut bacteria produce SCFAs when they digest fiber the cells of the colon then use SCFAs as their primary source of energy, making them vital for good gut health.

The researchers found that when they introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, stress and anxiety-based behaviors were significantly reduced.

After demonstrating that SCFAs reduce anxiety, they wanted to understand how these small molecules influenced physical, stress-related gut damage.

Known as a “leaky” gut, high levels of stress over time increase the intestine’s permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.

The researchers found that by introducing SCFAs, they reduced the gut leakiness caused by persistent stress.

“ There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now.”

Lead author, Prof. John F. Cryan

Fruits, vegetables, and grains naturally contain high levels of fiber. Although this study was conducted on mice, the inference is that a high-fiber diet might prompt gut bacteria to produce more SCFAs — thereby bolstering our gut’s natural defenses against the damage caused by stress.

Of course, plenty more research will be necessary before that conclusion can be written in stone as Prof. Cryan says, “It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.”

Future work will also need to dig deeper to get a better understanding of exactly how SCFAs provide these benefits. Unwrapping the molecular shenanigans behind the scenes is likely to be challenging.

The authors hope that the current findings will, eventually, help in the “development of microbiota-targeted therapies for stress-related disorders.”

However, for now, attempting to minimize stress in one’s life while upping consumption of fruit and veg is likely to be a sensible recommendation, whether it impacts levels of SCFAs or not.


How fiber and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

In the stressful world we inhabit, many of us are keen to protect our bodies from the harmful effects that stress can produce. A new study hints that a high-fiber diet might go some way to achieving this.

Share on Pinterest A new study looks deeper at links between gut bacteria and stress.

The bacteria that live in our gut are as numerous as the cells in our body. As medical research progresses, the influence that these billions of tiny creatures have on our health is becoming ever more apparent.

It comes as no surprise that they might play a role in gastrointestinal issues, but the microbiome’s influence flies much further afield.

Most recently, it has become apparent that there is a significant relationship between gut bacteria and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although the thought of a microorganism in our intestines affecting our mental well-being seems like a leap, the gut and brain are deeply entwined. As an example, most people will know how a nerve-wracking situation can influence the speed of our bowels and, vice versa, how being hungry can cast a shadow over our mood.

A troubled brain can inform the gut, and a troubled gut can inform the brain.

Stress, although it is a mental state, can physically affect our gastrointestinal system and the bacterial residents within it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can affect gut bacteria to a similar degree as a high-fat diet while other studies have shown that reducing the number of bacteria in the gut can produce stress-induced activity in mice.

So, it seems that the road runs both ways: stress can alter gut bacteria, and gut bacteria can influence stress levels. It is a complicated web.

A recent piece of research, published in The Journal of Physiology, takes a fresh look at how gut bacteria are involved in gut health problems induced by stress. The work was carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland.

The team of scientists was interested in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Gut bacteria produce SCFAs when they digest fiber the cells of the colon then use SCFAs as their primary source of energy, making them vital for good gut health.

The researchers found that when they introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, stress and anxiety-based behaviors were significantly reduced.

After demonstrating that SCFAs reduce anxiety, they wanted to understand how these small molecules influenced physical, stress-related gut damage.

Known as a “leaky” gut, high levels of stress over time increase the intestine’s permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.

The researchers found that by introducing SCFAs, they reduced the gut leakiness caused by persistent stress.

“ There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now.”

Lead author, Prof. John F. Cryan

Fruits, vegetables, and grains naturally contain high levels of fiber. Although this study was conducted on mice, the inference is that a high-fiber diet might prompt gut bacteria to produce more SCFAs — thereby bolstering our gut’s natural defenses against the damage caused by stress.

Of course, plenty more research will be necessary before that conclusion can be written in stone as Prof. Cryan says, “It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.”

Future work will also need to dig deeper to get a better understanding of exactly how SCFAs provide these benefits. Unwrapping the molecular shenanigans behind the scenes is likely to be challenging.

The authors hope that the current findings will, eventually, help in the “development of microbiota-targeted therapies for stress-related disorders.”

However, for now, attempting to minimize stress in one’s life while upping consumption of fruit and veg is likely to be a sensible recommendation, whether it impacts levels of SCFAs or not.


How fiber and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

In the stressful world we inhabit, many of us are keen to protect our bodies from the harmful effects that stress can produce. A new study hints that a high-fiber diet might go some way to achieving this.

Share on Pinterest A new study looks deeper at links between gut bacteria and stress.

The bacteria that live in our gut are as numerous as the cells in our body. As medical research progresses, the influence that these billions of tiny creatures have on our health is becoming ever more apparent.

It comes as no surprise that they might play a role in gastrointestinal issues, but the microbiome’s influence flies much further afield.

Most recently, it has become apparent that there is a significant relationship between gut bacteria and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although the thought of a microorganism in our intestines affecting our mental well-being seems like a leap, the gut and brain are deeply entwined. As an example, most people will know how a nerve-wracking situation can influence the speed of our bowels and, vice versa, how being hungry can cast a shadow over our mood.

A troubled brain can inform the gut, and a troubled gut can inform the brain.

Stress, although it is a mental state, can physically affect our gastrointestinal system and the bacterial residents within it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can affect gut bacteria to a similar degree as a high-fat diet while other studies have shown that reducing the number of bacteria in the gut can produce stress-induced activity in mice.

So, it seems that the road runs both ways: stress can alter gut bacteria, and gut bacteria can influence stress levels. It is a complicated web.

A recent piece of research, published in The Journal of Physiology, takes a fresh look at how gut bacteria are involved in gut health problems induced by stress. The work was carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland.

The team of scientists was interested in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Gut bacteria produce SCFAs when they digest fiber the cells of the colon then use SCFAs as their primary source of energy, making them vital for good gut health.

The researchers found that when they introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, stress and anxiety-based behaviors were significantly reduced.

After demonstrating that SCFAs reduce anxiety, they wanted to understand how these small molecules influenced physical, stress-related gut damage.

Known as a “leaky” gut, high levels of stress over time increase the intestine’s permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.

The researchers found that by introducing SCFAs, they reduced the gut leakiness caused by persistent stress.

“ There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now.”

Lead author, Prof. John F. Cryan

Fruits, vegetables, and grains naturally contain high levels of fiber. Although this study was conducted on mice, the inference is that a high-fiber diet might prompt gut bacteria to produce more SCFAs — thereby bolstering our gut’s natural defenses against the damage caused by stress.

Of course, plenty more research will be necessary before that conclusion can be written in stone as Prof. Cryan says, “It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.”

Future work will also need to dig deeper to get a better understanding of exactly how SCFAs provide these benefits. Unwrapping the molecular shenanigans behind the scenes is likely to be challenging.

The authors hope that the current findings will, eventually, help in the “development of microbiota-targeted therapies for stress-related disorders.”

However, for now, attempting to minimize stress in one’s life while upping consumption of fruit and veg is likely to be a sensible recommendation, whether it impacts levels of SCFAs or not.


How fiber and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

In the stressful world we inhabit, many of us are keen to protect our bodies from the harmful effects that stress can produce. A new study hints that a high-fiber diet might go some way to achieving this.

Share on Pinterest A new study looks deeper at links between gut bacteria and stress.

The bacteria that live in our gut are as numerous as the cells in our body. As medical research progresses, the influence that these billions of tiny creatures have on our health is becoming ever more apparent.

It comes as no surprise that they might play a role in gastrointestinal issues, but the microbiome’s influence flies much further afield.

Most recently, it has become apparent that there is a significant relationship between gut bacteria and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although the thought of a microorganism in our intestines affecting our mental well-being seems like a leap, the gut and brain are deeply entwined. As an example, most people will know how a nerve-wracking situation can influence the speed of our bowels and, vice versa, how being hungry can cast a shadow over our mood.

A troubled brain can inform the gut, and a troubled gut can inform the brain.

Stress, although it is a mental state, can physically affect our gastrointestinal system and the bacterial residents within it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can affect gut bacteria to a similar degree as a high-fat diet while other studies have shown that reducing the number of bacteria in the gut can produce stress-induced activity in mice.

So, it seems that the road runs both ways: stress can alter gut bacteria, and gut bacteria can influence stress levels. It is a complicated web.

A recent piece of research, published in The Journal of Physiology, takes a fresh look at how gut bacteria are involved in gut health problems induced by stress. The work was carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland.

The team of scientists was interested in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Gut bacteria produce SCFAs when they digest fiber the cells of the colon then use SCFAs as their primary source of energy, making them vital for good gut health.

The researchers found that when they introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, stress and anxiety-based behaviors were significantly reduced.

After demonstrating that SCFAs reduce anxiety, they wanted to understand how these small molecules influenced physical, stress-related gut damage.

Known as a “leaky” gut, high levels of stress over time increase the intestine’s permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.

The researchers found that by introducing SCFAs, they reduced the gut leakiness caused by persistent stress.

“ There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now.”

Lead author, Prof. John F. Cryan

Fruits, vegetables, and grains naturally contain high levels of fiber. Although this study was conducted on mice, the inference is that a high-fiber diet might prompt gut bacteria to produce more SCFAs — thereby bolstering our gut’s natural defenses against the damage caused by stress.

Of course, plenty more research will be necessary before that conclusion can be written in stone as Prof. Cryan says, “It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.”

Future work will also need to dig deeper to get a better understanding of exactly how SCFAs provide these benefits. Unwrapping the molecular shenanigans behind the scenes is likely to be challenging.

The authors hope that the current findings will, eventually, help in the “development of microbiota-targeted therapies for stress-related disorders.”

However, for now, attempting to minimize stress in one’s life while upping consumption of fruit and veg is likely to be a sensible recommendation, whether it impacts levels of SCFAs or not.


How fiber and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

In the stressful world we inhabit, many of us are keen to protect our bodies from the harmful effects that stress can produce. A new study hints that a high-fiber diet might go some way to achieving this.

Share on Pinterest A new study looks deeper at links between gut bacteria and stress.

The bacteria that live in our gut are as numerous as the cells in our body. As medical research progresses, the influence that these billions of tiny creatures have on our health is becoming ever more apparent.

It comes as no surprise that they might play a role in gastrointestinal issues, but the microbiome’s influence flies much further afield.

Most recently, it has become apparent that there is a significant relationship between gut bacteria and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although the thought of a microorganism in our intestines affecting our mental well-being seems like a leap, the gut and brain are deeply entwined. As an example, most people will know how a nerve-wracking situation can influence the speed of our bowels and, vice versa, how being hungry can cast a shadow over our mood.

A troubled brain can inform the gut, and a troubled gut can inform the brain.

Stress, although it is a mental state, can physically affect our gastrointestinal system and the bacterial residents within it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can affect gut bacteria to a similar degree as a high-fat diet while other studies have shown that reducing the number of bacteria in the gut can produce stress-induced activity in mice.

So, it seems that the road runs both ways: stress can alter gut bacteria, and gut bacteria can influence stress levels. It is a complicated web.

A recent piece of research, published in The Journal of Physiology, takes a fresh look at how gut bacteria are involved in gut health problems induced by stress. The work was carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland.

The team of scientists was interested in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Gut bacteria produce SCFAs when they digest fiber the cells of the colon then use SCFAs as their primary source of energy, making them vital for good gut health.

The researchers found that when they introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, stress and anxiety-based behaviors were significantly reduced.

After demonstrating that SCFAs reduce anxiety, they wanted to understand how these small molecules influenced physical, stress-related gut damage.

Known as a “leaky” gut, high levels of stress over time increase the intestine’s permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.

The researchers found that by introducing SCFAs, they reduced the gut leakiness caused by persistent stress.

“ There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now.”

Lead author, Prof. John F. Cryan

Fruits, vegetables, and grains naturally contain high levels of fiber. Although this study was conducted on mice, the inference is that a high-fiber diet might prompt gut bacteria to produce more SCFAs — thereby bolstering our gut’s natural defenses against the damage caused by stress.

Of course, plenty more research will be necessary before that conclusion can be written in stone as Prof. Cryan says, “It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.”

Future work will also need to dig deeper to get a better understanding of exactly how SCFAs provide these benefits. Unwrapping the molecular shenanigans behind the scenes is likely to be challenging.

The authors hope that the current findings will, eventually, help in the “development of microbiota-targeted therapies for stress-related disorders.”

However, for now, attempting to minimize stress in one’s life while upping consumption of fruit and veg is likely to be a sensible recommendation, whether it impacts levels of SCFAs or not.


How fiber and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

In the stressful world we inhabit, many of us are keen to protect our bodies from the harmful effects that stress can produce. A new study hints that a high-fiber diet might go some way to achieving this.

Share on Pinterest A new study looks deeper at links between gut bacteria and stress.

The bacteria that live in our gut are as numerous as the cells in our body. As medical research progresses, the influence that these billions of tiny creatures have on our health is becoming ever more apparent.

It comes as no surprise that they might play a role in gastrointestinal issues, but the microbiome’s influence flies much further afield.

Most recently, it has become apparent that there is a significant relationship between gut bacteria and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although the thought of a microorganism in our intestines affecting our mental well-being seems like a leap, the gut and brain are deeply entwined. As an example, most people will know how a nerve-wracking situation can influence the speed of our bowels and, vice versa, how being hungry can cast a shadow over our mood.

A troubled brain can inform the gut, and a troubled gut can inform the brain.

Stress, although it is a mental state, can physically affect our gastrointestinal system and the bacterial residents within it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can affect gut bacteria to a similar degree as a high-fat diet while other studies have shown that reducing the number of bacteria in the gut can produce stress-induced activity in mice.

So, it seems that the road runs both ways: stress can alter gut bacteria, and gut bacteria can influence stress levels. It is a complicated web.

A recent piece of research, published in The Journal of Physiology, takes a fresh look at how gut bacteria are involved in gut health problems induced by stress. The work was carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland.

The team of scientists was interested in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Gut bacteria produce SCFAs when they digest fiber the cells of the colon then use SCFAs as their primary source of energy, making them vital for good gut health.

The researchers found that when they introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, stress and anxiety-based behaviors were significantly reduced.

After demonstrating that SCFAs reduce anxiety, they wanted to understand how these small molecules influenced physical, stress-related gut damage.

Known as a “leaky” gut, high levels of stress over time increase the intestine’s permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.

The researchers found that by introducing SCFAs, they reduced the gut leakiness caused by persistent stress.

“ There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now.”

Lead author, Prof. John F. Cryan

Fruits, vegetables, and grains naturally contain high levels of fiber. Although this study was conducted on mice, the inference is that a high-fiber diet might prompt gut bacteria to produce more SCFAs — thereby bolstering our gut’s natural defenses against the damage caused by stress.

Of course, plenty more research will be necessary before that conclusion can be written in stone as Prof. Cryan says, “It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.”

Future work will also need to dig deeper to get a better understanding of exactly how SCFAs provide these benefits. Unwrapping the molecular shenanigans behind the scenes is likely to be challenging.

The authors hope that the current findings will, eventually, help in the “development of microbiota-targeted therapies for stress-related disorders.”

However, for now, attempting to minimize stress in one’s life while upping consumption of fruit and veg is likely to be a sensible recommendation, whether it impacts levels of SCFAs or not.


How fiber and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

In the stressful world we inhabit, many of us are keen to protect our bodies from the harmful effects that stress can produce. A new study hints that a high-fiber diet might go some way to achieving this.

Share on Pinterest A new study looks deeper at links between gut bacteria and stress.

The bacteria that live in our gut are as numerous as the cells in our body. As medical research progresses, the influence that these billions of tiny creatures have on our health is becoming ever more apparent.

It comes as no surprise that they might play a role in gastrointestinal issues, but the microbiome’s influence flies much further afield.

Most recently, it has become apparent that there is a significant relationship between gut bacteria and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although the thought of a microorganism in our intestines affecting our mental well-being seems like a leap, the gut and brain are deeply entwined. As an example, most people will know how a nerve-wracking situation can influence the speed of our bowels and, vice versa, how being hungry can cast a shadow over our mood.

A troubled brain can inform the gut, and a troubled gut can inform the brain.

Stress, although it is a mental state, can physically affect our gastrointestinal system and the bacterial residents within it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can affect gut bacteria to a similar degree as a high-fat diet while other studies have shown that reducing the number of bacteria in the gut can produce stress-induced activity in mice.

So, it seems that the road runs both ways: stress can alter gut bacteria, and gut bacteria can influence stress levels. It is a complicated web.

A recent piece of research, published in The Journal of Physiology, takes a fresh look at how gut bacteria are involved in gut health problems induced by stress. The work was carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland.

The team of scientists was interested in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Gut bacteria produce SCFAs when they digest fiber the cells of the colon then use SCFAs as their primary source of energy, making them vital for good gut health.

The researchers found that when they introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, stress and anxiety-based behaviors were significantly reduced.

After demonstrating that SCFAs reduce anxiety, they wanted to understand how these small molecules influenced physical, stress-related gut damage.

Known as a “leaky” gut, high levels of stress over time increase the intestine’s permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.

The researchers found that by introducing SCFAs, they reduced the gut leakiness caused by persistent stress.

“ There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now.”

Lead author, Prof. John F. Cryan

Fruits, vegetables, and grains naturally contain high levels of fiber. Although this study was conducted on mice, the inference is that a high-fiber diet might prompt gut bacteria to produce more SCFAs — thereby bolstering our gut’s natural defenses against the damage caused by stress.

Of course, plenty more research will be necessary before that conclusion can be written in stone as Prof. Cryan says, “It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.”

Future work will also need to dig deeper to get a better understanding of exactly how SCFAs provide these benefits. Unwrapping the molecular shenanigans behind the scenes is likely to be challenging.

The authors hope that the current findings will, eventually, help in the “development of microbiota-targeted therapies for stress-related disorders.”

However, for now, attempting to minimize stress in one’s life while upping consumption of fruit and veg is likely to be a sensible recommendation, whether it impacts levels of SCFAs or not.


How fiber and gut bacteria reverse stress damage

In the stressful world we inhabit, many of us are keen to protect our bodies from the harmful effects that stress can produce. A new study hints that a high-fiber diet might go some way to achieving this.

Share on Pinterest A new study looks deeper at links between gut bacteria and stress.

The bacteria that live in our gut are as numerous as the cells in our body. As medical research progresses, the influence that these billions of tiny creatures have on our health is becoming ever more apparent.

It comes as no surprise that they might play a role in gastrointestinal issues, but the microbiome’s influence flies much further afield.

Most recently, it has become apparent that there is a significant relationship between gut bacteria and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Although the thought of a microorganism in our intestines affecting our mental well-being seems like a leap, the gut and brain are deeply entwined. As an example, most people will know how a nerve-wracking situation can influence the speed of our bowels and, vice versa, how being hungry can cast a shadow over our mood.

A troubled brain can inform the gut, and a troubled gut can inform the brain.

Stress, although it is a mental state, can physically affect our gastrointestinal system and the bacterial residents within it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can affect gut bacteria to a similar degree as a high-fat diet while other studies have shown that reducing the number of bacteria in the gut can produce stress-induced activity in mice.

So, it seems that the road runs both ways: stress can alter gut bacteria, and gut bacteria can influence stress levels. It is a complicated web.

A recent piece of research, published in The Journal of Physiology, takes a fresh look at how gut bacteria are involved in gut health problems induced by stress. The work was carried out at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland.

The team of scientists was interested in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Gut bacteria produce SCFAs when they digest fiber the cells of the colon then use SCFAs as their primary source of energy, making them vital for good gut health.

The researchers found that when they introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, stress and anxiety-based behaviors were significantly reduced.

After demonstrating that SCFAs reduce anxiety, they wanted to understand how these small molecules influenced physical, stress-related gut damage.

Known as a “leaky” gut, high levels of stress over time increase the intestine’s permeability. This means that particles, such as bacteria and undigested food, can move more easily into the bloodstream, which can cause damaging chronic inflammation.

The researchers found that by introducing SCFAs, they reduced the gut leakiness caused by persistent stress.

“ There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now.”

Lead author, Prof. John F. Cryan

Fruits, vegetables, and grains naturally contain high levels of fiber. Although this study was conducted on mice, the inference is that a high-fiber diet might prompt gut bacteria to produce more SCFAs — thereby bolstering our gut’s natural defenses against the damage caused by stress.

Of course, plenty more research will be necessary before that conclusion can be written in stone as Prof. Cryan says, “It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.”

Future work will also need to dig deeper to get a better understanding of exactly how SCFAs provide these benefits. Unwrapping the molecular shenanigans behind the scenes is likely to be challenging.

The authors hope that the current findings will, eventually, help in the “development of microbiota-targeted therapies for stress-related disorders.”

However, for now, attempting to minimize stress in one’s life while upping consumption of fruit and veg is likely to be a sensible recommendation, whether it impacts levels of SCFAs or not.



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