Jaw-dropping science facts, part 6
Scientists have found evidence that gut bacteria has a direct physical effect on the brain, and suggest that it may one day be possible to treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis (and possibly even psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia) by altering gut microbial composition.
Researchers at University College in Cork, Ireland, discovered that gut bacteria has a much more important role than was previously thought: they regulate nerve fibre insulation, affecting how impulses in the brain are conducted. According to The Guardian, which picked up on the story:
'Gut microbe research has exploded in the past 10 years, and in that time, it has become increasingly clear that there is a two-way line of communication between gut bacteria and the brain. The human gut microbiome seems to play important roles in health and disease, and alterations in its composition have been implicated in a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including autism, chronic pain, depression, and Parkinson’s Disease.'
John Cryan of the APC Microbiome Institute told the newspaper:
"To our knowledge this is the first study showing a clear relationship between the microbiome and myelination in the brain.” The new findings could, therefore, eventually lead to novel treatments for multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases, based on prebiotics, probiotics, or even fecal transplants, all of which could potentially be used to adjust the exact composition of microbes in the gut."
The original scientific research, published in Translational Psychiatry last April, can be found here.
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Jaw-dropping science facts everyone should know about kombucha, part 3
Scientists at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, have found that regular consumption of probiotics found in fermented food and drinks like kombucha can reduce high blood pressure and help stabilise it at a healthy level. When probiotics were taken for more than eight weeks, Jin Sun Ph.D and her team found a wide range of positive changes happening in the body as a result.
"We believe probiotics might help lower blood pressure by having other positive effects on health,” Sun said. “These include improving total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol; reducing blood glucose and insulin resistance; and by helping to regulate the hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance.”
Energy drinks, on the other hand, have been scientifically proven to increase blood pressure levels and cause stress on the heart. Yet another great reason to swap your taurine-based beverages for an energy-boosting healthy alternative like Equinox kombucha!
Source: S. Khalesi, J. Sun, N. Buys, R. Jayasinghe. Effect of Probiotics on Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials. Hypertension, 2014; DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.03469
Jaw-Dropping Science Facts Everyone Should Know About Kombucha, Part 2
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from green or black tea, cane sugar and a probiotic live fungus culture called SCOBY*. It’s packed full of probiotic yeasts and bacterias, B vitamins, organic acids and antioxidants, all of which are claimed to work various wonders for your body and mind. Although official government-backed research on kombucha is pretty thin on the ground, there are still tons of fascinating independent studies suggesting that a kombucha a day really does keep the doctor away. Following on from part one, here’s another great reason to make kombucha part of your everyday routine!
Not only can probiotics boost serotonin, scientists have found they also help to decrease negative thinking! In a 2015 study, psychologists Laura Steenbergen and Lorenza Colzato from the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition tested the power of probiotics in combatting negative feelings. They split 40 subjects into two groups, half of which received a probiotics mixture and half a placebo. The conclusion? Prolonged use of probiotics reduces recurrent negative thoughts about possible causes and consequences of distress- a marker of depression.
“These results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood,” Colzato said of her team’s study. “Our findings shed an interesting new light on the potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for depression.”
There you go: that morning kombucha tonic can boost happiness in more ways than one!
Source: Gregor Reid ‘Neuroactive probiotics’ July 2011
Reid, G. (2011), Neuroactive probiotics. Bioessays, 33: 562. doi: 10.1002/bies.201100074
Jaw-Dropping Science Facts Everyone Should Know About Kombucha, Part 1
Probiotics, often referred to as 'good bacteria', are known to promote a healthy gut, but did you know they can also promote a healthy mind? In a 2011 study researchers were excited to discover something completely new to science: probiotic bacteria administered to the gut can positively affect your brain chemistry.
Dr Mark Lyte from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center found that microbial strains in fermented food produce neurochemicals including serotonin, the neurotransmitter credited with boosting happiness levels. In Lyke’s study, serotonin was found in the bloodstream of test subjects after probiotics were administered to the gut, leading to the exciting conclusion that probiotics function as ‘delivery vehicles’ for neurochemicals.
Kombucha fans often say the drink boosts brain power, cures hangovers and gives clarity of mind. The news that it could directly cause serotonin production gives us some clues as to why this might be…so what are you waiting for? Crack open a bottle and get happy!
Professor Mark Lyte from M. Lyte. Probiotics function mechanistically as delivery vehicles for neuroactive compounds: Microbial Endocrinology in the design and use of probiotics. BioEssays, 2011; DOI: 10.1002/bies.201100024