The research group was small, only 36 healthy women, and the yogurt was provided by Danone, but the results were promising enough to warrant the claim, “Changing gut bacteria through diet affects brain function.” Researchers found that the group of subjects who consumed yogurt with live probiotics twice a day had positive changes in several areas of the brain, including those associated with sensory processing and emotion. The study may lead to more research in the connections between gut health and brain function. Researchers speculate that they may even be able to help people with Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Autism.
For those of us who have followed WAPF principles for several years, this is not a new discovery. Anyone who has read either The Body Ecology Diet or Gut and Psychology Syndrome can understand how the various bacteria in our guts have a profound effect on not only our digestion and immune systems, but also our brain function. We can point to literally hundreds of success stories. These are stories about real people who reversed not just depression but also autism, autoimmune conditions and weight problems by changing the ecology of their intestinal microflora.
I have personally experienced positive changes in my moods and other health problems simply by eating more live fermented foods and reducing the simple sugars that feed less desirable bacteria and yeasts in my gut. I think it is great that more research is being done in the connection between gut bacteria and brain activity, but these researchers and the folks at Dannon Yogurt shouldn’t get all the credit. (Look for commercials coming soon, perhaps featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, extolling the benefits of commercial, sugar laden yogurt for depression.) Meanwhile, those of us who eat real food and follow the principles of traditional diets will continue to eat our live fermented vegetables, lacto-fermented drinks and home-made dairy ferments in a state of peace and happiness. Kimchi anyone?