It may seem farfetched but, apparently, it’s not.
I am a big picture person. I see that if we are well integrated into our community - spending time eating, drinking and working together - that our “inner” community of microbes is diversifying and working together too. It seems that research supports this.
In a recent study looking at young adults, an association was found between eating fermented foods and a reduction in social anxiety. Researchers found that amongst students who were prone to being anxious and hyper, those who ate fermented foods were less anxious overall and that included social circumstances.
Less anxiety = more sociable. Who knew it could be that simple?
To be fair, this research backs up previous research that indicated better gut health with a healthy composition of good bacteria also lowered anxiety in both mice and human studies. In one study from McMaster University, mice treated with antibiotics became more antisocial. Once their normal intestinal good bacteria levels returned, their behavior returned to normal. I bet you never thought of mice as being social but apparently, they like each other a lot.
It is also interesting to note that people who suffer from IBS, also often suffer from anxiety and depression and we now know that IBS is a condition where sufferers have lower good bacteria levels.
In another mouse study, researchers used germ-free mice who were genetically were less social and gave them bacteria from highly social mice. The mice became more active and daring.
If you suffer from social anxiety, maybe instead of medication, you need a good poop transplant from someone who is much more of a social butterfly. Yes, in case you did not know, there really are poop transplants and they are extremely popular, showing a lot of promise for a number of conditions.
Now if you are looking for something less messy and less complicated to help anxiety, then fermented foods could be an easy and far more appealing option. The benefits have been linked to the fact that fermented foods contain probiotics (good bacteria) and previously, studies have found that probiotics (in the form of supplements) have also been helpful with anxiety and depression.
Supplements are good but food is more fun. And I love the recipes I have created using fermented foods. A good recipe has a combination of flavours that the fermented food enhances. Many good quality fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, miso, kimchi and yogurt are available in health food and grocery stores. Always look for them in the refrigerator section. Please note that any fermented food that is found on a shelf has been pasteurized, which means the beneficial bacteria and enzymes are dead.
If you are new to fermented foods, why not come give them a try – for free! This Friday, May 26th, I host the monthly Fermented Foodies Culture Club at Farmer Rob’s from 5-6pm. It is the last one until August, so try to make it. Just bring yourself or bring your ferments, cultures and recipes to share. Everyone is welcome.
Can't make the socials? Call me and let's make a date for me to come to YOUR kitchen and show you how. For $125 you get a full hour of demonstration and instruction, recipes, any cultures you need to get started, plus ongoing phone or email support from me! More info here. Invite some friends, have a party and share the fee!
Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model, Matthew R. Hilimire et al, Psychiatry Research, Volume 228, Issue 2, 15 August 2015, Pages 203–208
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, A Venket Rao et al, Gut Pathog. 2009; 1: 6.
A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood , Laura Steenbergena et al, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Volume 48, August 2015, Pages 258–264
Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve, Javier A. Bravo et al, PNAS vol. 108 no. 38 16050–16055
Systematic Review of Intestinal Microbiota Transplantation (Fecal Bacteriotherapy) for Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection , Ethan Gough et al, Clin Infect Dis. (2011) 53 (10): 994-1002.
It Takes Guts Nutrition
Katanne Belisle RHN
Gut Health Specialist
Whitehorse, YT, CAN
What Clients Are Saying
"I was plagued by a myriad of digestive and inflammatory issues and after months of discomfort I was fortunate enough to meet Katanne. Her insight, intuition, knowledge and caring attention has made it possible for me to heal and thrive with a new understanding of the food I eat. I am now healthier, happier and have more energy than I have had in quite some time. " ~ Steve T.
"Katanne gives well balanced information versed in first hand experience and research. After seeing various health professionals over the years, doing my own research, trials and tribulations, I can (say) that this is the real deal, and that what she provides people is a holistic, realistic approach to healing oneself through food" ~ Elizabeth G.