- Posted by Christine
- On February 25, 2019
The gut microbiota are microorganisms or bacteria that reside in our intestinal tract that assist with the digestive process. Everyone has approximately 100 trillion microorganisms within their digestive system! Each person has a unique collection and assortment of these bacteria which are unique as our fingerprints. These gut bacteria play a fundamental role in shaping our metabolism, neuronal, and endocrine systems.
Microorganisms also impact our immune function and if dysfunctional, it can contribute to problems such as obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease or depression. There are many research articles that show that the administration of certain strains of gut bacteria to rodents results in decreased anxiety and depression.
Gut Microbiota & Your Mood
Research suggests an important role for the gut microbiota in brain development, behaviour and mood. This impact occurs locally at the brain, as well as peripherally through the enteric nervous system. The enteric nervous system is a part of the autonomic nervous system that lines the digestive tract and is sometimes referred to as the body’s second brain. Our gut microorganisms secrete a number of chemicals, many of which are the same substances used by our neurons to regulate mood, such as serotonin and dopamine.
The Effect of Physical Activity on Gut Microbiota
Exercise is known to positively effect our health in various ways. New research is suggesting that we can even impact our gut health through exercise. In a recent article by Evans, they found that exercise reversed the negative effects of a high-fat diet on mice, and physical activity had a positive effect on their gut bacteria. “There was a significant correlation between the distance run and alterations in the major gut bacterial phyla for the exercise [group of] mice.” Therefore exercise, independent of diet, can positively affect our gut composition. Therefore, by being physically active you can positively impact your mood by altering the composition of your gut. This is just another great reason to be active, so get out there, your gut is depending on you!
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