Relax– eat more yogurt

So, I’ve mentioned before that I’m quite the lover of yogurt.  I’d be a fan even if not for all that healthy bacteria within, but there’s even more evidence now that the probiotics in yogurt may be helpful in ways we would not have anticipated.  Well, at least in rats, so far.  Via Jonah Lehrer:

The experiment, led by Javier Bravo at University College Cork in Ireland, was straightforward. First, he fed normal lab mice a diet full of probiotics. Then, Mr. Bravo’s team tested for behavioral changes, which were significant: When probiotic-fed animals were put in stressful conditions, such as being dropped into a pool of water, they were less anxious and released less stress hormone…

Though it might seem odd that a cup of yogurt can influence behavior, the phenomenon has been repeatedly confirmed, at least in rodents. Earlier this year, Swedish scientists showed that the presence of gut bacteria shapes the development of the mouse brain, while French researchers found that treating human subjects with large doses of probiotics for 30 days reduced levels of “psychological distress.” There’s nothing metaphorical about “gut feelings,” for what happens in the gut really does influence what we feel.

Pretty cool.  No wonder I feel such low levels of anxiety and stress despite the complete nuttiness that is life with my four children (then again, you should’ve seen me at 7am today).

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

2 Responses to Relax– eat more yogurt

  1. Steve Greene says:

    Wow– that was really good. For what it’s worth, I would eat yogurt even with no bacteria because I just love it. Also, I actually take L. rhamnosus GG, which was basically the only probiotic the article actually said anything positive about (there’s actually a lot of clinical trial data on it, which is why I take it).

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