Turns Out Stress Is As Harmful As Junk Food For Your Gut!

By on January 8, 2018

Stress, similar to junk food, can cause harm to your body by disturbing the microbiota in your gut, claims a recent study. The study published in the journal of Nature Scientific Reports suggests that stress is just as harmful to our bodies as junk food is to our digestive system.

“Stress can be harmful in a lot of ways, but this research is novel in that it ties stress to female-specific changes in the gut microbiota,” Bridgewater added. “We sometimes think of stress as a purely psychological phenomenon, but it causes distinct physical changes.”
“In society, women tend to have higher rates of depression and anxiety, which are linked to stress,” said Bridgewater.

“This study suggests that a possible source of the gender discrepancy may be the different ways gut microbiota responds to stress in males vs. females,” she noted

Researcher Laura Bridgewater professor at the Brigham Young University found through the studies that when female mice were exposed to stress, their gut microbiota—the microorganisms vital to digestive and metabolic health—changed to look like the mice had been eating a high-fat diet.
The researchers took a large group of 8-week-old mice and exposed half of the males and half of the females to a high-fat diet. After 16 weeks, all of the mice were exposed to mild stress over the course of 18 days.

For the study, they then extracted microbial DNA from the mice fecal pellets before and after the stress to test how the gut microbiota was affected. They also measured mouse anxiety based on how much and where the mice travelled in an open field arena.

The study also revealed fascinating differences between genders. Male mice on the high-fat diet exhibited more anxiety than females on the high-fat diet, and high-fat males also showed decreased activity in response to stress.
However, it was only in female mice that stress caused the gut microbiota composition to shift as if the animals were on a high-fat diet.

Researchers believe this could reveal significant implications for humans although the study was only carried out on animals.

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