The Daily Telegraph – 26 October 2015 – ‘Why we should trust our gut instincts’

Most of us have had “gut reactions” to things in our lives or “gut feelings” about people or events. But new research shows that these may be more accurate than we could have ever imagined. While most people are aware of the crucial role gut bacteria plays in digestion, with studies linking the microbes in our large intestines to everything from allergies to immunity to weight, a growing number of researchers are exploring how our gut flora can influence our mood and stress levels too.

Indeed, a study of 700 students at the College of William and Mary in Virginia found that those who ate more fermented foods which are high in natural probiotic cultures had fewer symptoms of social anxiety and neuroticism than those who ate less or none at all.

“Though such studies are not conclusive, they do show a consistent theme coming through of a potential role in stress, anxiety and possibly depression by the influence of gut bacteria on the brain” says Dr James Kustow, a consultant psychiatrist at the Nightingale Hospital.

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