Scientists: bacteria in the gut manipulate human behavior

Scientists: bacteria in the gut manipulate human behavior
Scientists: bacteria in the gut manipulate human behavior

Scientists have learned that bacteria in the gut can independently influence our food choices.


A new study led by American scientists led by Joe Alcock of the University of New Mexico has shown that bacteria in our gut can influence human behavior through special communication channels, prompting us to eat what they need, and then punishing us for disobeying or encouraging for a favorable choice for them.

The bacteria within us are manipulators. In general, the microflora contains a variety of nutritional interests between different types of bacteria. Some are appropriate for the diet we have chosen and the food we eat, and some are not.

Carlo Maley, University of California, San Francisco

The conclusions of scientists were made on the basis of an analysis of a large amount of scientific literature, directly or indirectly devoted to this problem, therefore, scientists cannot yet explain exactly how bacteria succeed in this. However, an interesting version is offered: bacteria can probably send signaling molecules into the surrounding space. Since the intestines are connected with the immune, endocrine and nervous systems of a person, these signals can influence our behavior in the direction necessary for bacteria.

Key in this process may be the vagus nerve, which connects 100 million nerve cells in the gastrointestinal tract to the brain.

These microbes have the ability to manipulate our behavior and mood (influencing our food choices) by altering nerve signals in the vagus nerve, thus affecting our taste buds, releasing toxins that negatively affect our health, or producing a chemical "reward" that makes us feel better. …

Athena Aktipis, Arizona State University

As depressing as it may sound, scientists insist that this influence is bilateral in nature. The composition of the microflora can completely change in a day if we just switch to a different diet. Some bacteria will die, others will spread.

Thus, with the help of prebiotics, probiotics and antibiotics, it is possible to create a microflora that is the most "healthy" and favorable for humans, scientists say. This is especially important in the context that some really dangerous bacteria in the gut can cause cancer.

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