Repeated Antibiotics In Childhood Can Permanently Affect The Happiness In Later Life

Its widely known fact that an imbalance in serotonin levels may influence mood in a way that leads to depression.  About 80% of our body’s total serotonin is in the gut – where it also regulates the intestinal movements.

A new research shows that normal adult brain function depends on the presence of gut microbes during development age. Serotonin, the major chemical involved in the regulation of mood and emotion, may be permanently altered in times of stress, anxiety and depression. According to the study, serotonin and its receptors are regulated by the gut bacterias in the developmental years.

Mesolimbic dopaminergic and serotonergic pathways.

This builds on earlier work, from the Cork group and others, showing that a microbiome-gut-brain axis exists that is essential for maintaining normal health which can affect brain and behavior. The research was carried out by Dr Gerard Clarke, Professor Fergus Shanahan, Professor Ted Dinan and Professor John F Cryan and colleagues at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre in UCC.

“We’re really excited by these findings” said lead author Dr Gerard Clarke. “Although we always believed that the microbiota was essential for our general health, our results also highlight how important our tiny friends are for our mental wellbeing.”

In an animal based study, when the scientists colonised the animals with bacteria in adulthood, they found that many of the central nervous system changes, especially those related to serotonin which have happened in childhood, could not be reversed indicating a permanent imprinting of the effects of absence of gut flora on brain function.

The best way to ensure healthy gut bacteria in infants is to breastfeed for at least the first six months of life.  Later in childhood, it is better to eat healthy and natural, exercise in fresh air and keep the child away from antibiotics as much as possible.

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