Man, rats have a shitty life. Not only are they constantly ensnared in medieval torture traps, have to LIVE in the NYC Subway, and eat McDonalds (and not even out of dumpsters! Zing!)
They’re often used in lab experiments. In one recent one, they took two sets of rats: nice ones and aggressive ones. In one cage, call it The Hamptons, were the nice rats enjoying themselves. In another cage they combined the nice rats with the aggressive rats.
The nice rats thrown in with the aggressive ones reacted in one of two ways when bullied: some reacted in fear and some could have cared less.
- Happy = Good Gut.The nice rats in the Hamptons and the nice rats in the asshole cage who didn't care had very similar gut biomes.
- Scared = Bad Gut. The nice rats who got scared had a very different gut biome, with all sorts of wonky bacteria and showed signs of depression, as is likely to happen if one is constantly being stressed by assholes taunting you.
Here is where it gets interesting: So the scientists took the scared rats bacteria and transplanted into the chill rats guts and low and behold - the chill rats became more depressed.
The results suggest the gut microbiome contributes to the depression-like behavior and inflammatory processes in the vHPC of stress vulnerable individuals.
It appears the composition of the bugs in your gut can lead to you being more or less responsive to stress conditions, which in turn is showing to lead to more depressive states. What is fascinating to me is that, unlike traditional depression treatments (SSRIs, MAOIs, etc) which attack the symptoms of depression, changing one’s gut microflora could actually help you become less bothered by stress, which could in turn reduce the severity of depression you feel.
Again, this is emerging science and no one should flush your Lexapro that has been prescribed by your doctor quite yet, but it’s another reason why Jetson believes in our model of seasonal probiotics so that we’re able to leverage this new science and new strains that have been shown to have efficacy in dealing with the various conditions we humans face.
If nothing else, I want to believe these scientists aren’t sadists.