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Gut Bacteria Spotted Eating Brain Chemicals for First Time

In a stunning finding at Boston’s Northeastern University, researchers have discovered gut bacteria that depend solely on a brain chemical to survive. The bacteria consume GABA, a brain molecule essential for controlling mood disorders such as depression. What’s more, nothing but the brain GABA can make this important bacteria grow, New Scientist reports. Scientists said they were surprised by their findings, and that the discovery “adds to the growing evidence that our gut bacteria may affect our brains.”

In the brain, GABA is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes in certain regions. Its job is to lower the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, which results in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior.

In the gut, bacteria actually produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters. Gut microbes can also alter the way in which your central nervous system uses these neurochemicals, so to learn the actual direct-route connection between the two is absolutely stunning. We now know it’s true: Your mood and brain health most definitely are connected to your gut!

So what should we do with this exciting information? Begin by nourishing your gut microbiome with REAL food. Avoid sugars because few things fertilize and accelerate the growth of pathogenic microbes better than sugar. Ditch all processed foods (things that come in a package, box or bag), including “probiotic” junk foods such as commercial yogurts. Instead, opt for traditionally cultured yogurt made from organic raw milk.

Then, load up on traditionally fermented and fiber-rich foods. Healthy choices include lassi, fermented grass fed organic milk such as kefir, natto (fermented soy) and fermented vegetables. Boost your soluble and insoluble fiber intake, and focus on vegetables, nuts and seeds, including sprouted seeds. Avoid conventionally-raised meats and opt for grass fed, organic, free-ranging meats, dairy and eggs.

Probiotic supplements can also be beneficial, but be sure to choose a reputable brand, looking for a potency count of 50 billion CFUs or higher of a product containing multiple species of diverse bacteria. Products containing species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are generally recommended.
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