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Published on: March 27, 2016
by Alexa Erickson for Collective Evolution:
Before probiotics became the much-discussed topic of the microbial world, cultures around the world were praising fermented foods. Dating back to the Neolithic tradition as a form of preservation, fermentation has become a big topic in today’s health-conscious era focused on living a holistic lifestyle.
Research has uncovered some pretty incredible things, like the brain-gut connection, which essentially says your gut has a brain, too. This makes it pertinent that our gut flora is healthy, and so scientists continue to observe what makes it thrive, and what makes it suffer. Dr. Emeran Mayer, a UCLA professor of medicine and a specialist in gastroenterology, and his team of researchers have discovered even more on the subject: drinking a milk fermented with probiotics can change the brain activity of women.
For the study, the researchers divided 36 healthy women ito three groups; one consumed milk fermented with probiotics, the other milk without probiotics, and the third a non-milk product. The probiotics that were used, which included Bifidobacterium animalis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis, have all been shown in clinical studies to improve the health of other organs and tissue regions within the body.
Each group consumed their respective beverages twice a day for four weeks. Prior and after the four-week period, the women had to undergo functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure resting brain activity and brain response to an emotional faces attention task.
What the researchers found was that the women who drank the probiotic milk had an immense change in their brain activity, including an increase in their task-related responses, and a change in their activity within the sensory cortex regions. The women’s midbrain connectivity also increased, which the researchers attributed to their task-related response increases. Furthermore, the study discovered a link between the changes in their brain activity and the changes in the brain signaling pathways for emotional responses.
Studies like this continue to serve as a breakthrough in the realization that the gut and brain are connected, and that how we nourish our gut has a huge impact on our brain and vice versa. From changes in our mood to our digestive tract, we have the power to boost our wellbeing in multiple respects by continuing to understand the importance of this connection in our body.
The key here is the probiotics. The delivery agent can be in a number of forms including food and drink. Healing and nourishing the gut is a huge part of having a healthy body overall.
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