Your intestines are sometimes referred to as the second brain. And with good reason. Our brains and gut are connected by an intensive network of neurons, chemicals and hormones. Microorganisms in our gut secrete chemicals such as the so-called happy hormones dopamine and serotonin, which neurons use to communicate with our brains and to regulate our mood. When the brain gives us feedback about our stress levels or happiness, we feel it in our stomach. Gut feeling isn’t just a metaphor.
Studies show that the absence of certain intestinal bacteria in childhood can mean that you have a relatively low concentration of serotonin during adult life.
Remedies against stress and depression often work through modulation of serotonin levels in the brain, but actually it’s worth exploring how you can boost the creation of serotonin right at the source. This is where benign intestinal bacteria could make a massive difference. Mycobacterium vaccae is thought to stimulate the release of serotonin and Lactobacillus rhamnosus is thought to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. So let’s start loving our bacteria!