There was a fascinating article in last Sunday’s New York Times in which researchers found evidence linking pets and the moods of their owners.
We’ve all known that having a pet gives many people a better quality of life and may in some instances, prolong a person’s life. The companionship is undeniable.
But what was interesting in this article was the link they may be finding in the microbes (germs) that dogs carry into the home. Just as some believe that children who grow up with pets have fewer allergies in adult life, there are some who wonder if dog germs, which travel into the pet owner’s system, may have an effect on moods. So far this hasn’t been the case with cats.
I’m fascinated by the growing evidence that the brain and the gut talk to each other, which led me to a small study from McMaster University in Canada. During the study, a group of patients were given a specific probiotic over a short time and the results were compared with a placebo group. Not only did there seem to be evidence that depression lessened in those taking the probiotic, but also the fMRI studies (MRI’s of the brain) showed physiological changes in the brain after taking the probiotics.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been taking probiotics for a while after a respected nutritionist suggested them.
This seems to be an important emerging field of study for those of us with sensitive guts and depression.