Stress Detriments Your Gut Health Just Like Junk Food Does


Stress is one of the major factors that cause many psychological and physical changes in your body but in a negative way. Almost everyone on this earth goes through this stress phase, be it regarding work pressures, relationship problems or financial worries. As per the latest study, stress acts as detrimental to our health as junk food, especially for women. The scientists found that stressed female mice went through some changes in her gut microbiota. Microbiota is a community of microorganisms that exist in the intestine. It was noticed that female mice experienced some changes in response to a high-fat-diet while in male mice; there was no such effect on gut microbiota.

Laura Bridgewater, co-author of the study at the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT stated with her colleagues that their research suggests that the gut microbiota may have gender-specific health results in response to stress.

The scientists reported the outcome of their study in the journal Scientific Reports, recently. The American Psychological Association reveals the fact of the U.S. that approximately 80% people are facing at least a single symptom of stress in the past month.

It’s quite obvious that stress does affect our body with negative implications for both physical and emotional health. It includes an elevated risk of depression, anxiety, and obesity. The latest study indicates that some of these implications may be down to how gut microorganisms react to stress.

Co-author of the study Bridgewater and her colleagues tested a huge group of male and female mice where half of the female and male mice were given a high-fat diet for almost 16 weeks while remaining mice were provided a standard chow diet to eat.

It was observed that after completing sixteen weeks, the whole group of mice faced mild stress once or twice a day for eighteen days. What stressors involved – a forced swim in cold water, predator sounds, smells and damp bedding.

The scientists analyzed fecal samples of the mice that were taken before and post-stress exposure. The samples were taken in order to conclude the changes occurred in their gut microbiota and know how our diet and stress has affected the gut microbiota.

The team also calculated the rodents’ anxiety levels, to find out the willing to roam in an open warren. Stress plays a vital role in causing distinct physical changes. Both the male and female mice were found with demonstrated significant changes in their gut microbiota in response to a high-fat diet.

In comparison with female mice, male mice were found with greater anxiety level. In response to stress, male mice that were fed a high-fat diet were also noticed with reduced physical activity, compared to female mice.

However, on the other hand, among mice fed the standard chow diet, female mice showed gut microbiota changes in reaction to stress – found the researchers, it was similar to those seen in response to the high-fat diet given to female mice. While no such response was noticed in male mice who fed the standard chow diet.

As per scientists’ findings, the stress may have diverse effects in women and men due to its impact on gut microbiota. The team of researchers cautions that their new study was conducted in mice but it may apply to humans too.

Laura Bridgewater states that in general, women tend to have elevated rates of anxiety and depression that are connected with stress. According to the study, a potential source of the gender inconsistency may be the dissimilar ways gut microbiota responds to stress in males in comparison with females.