Bacteria present in your gut can decide what you crave for and what your mood is. They can also force you to eat what they want and they may be causing obesity.
There are bacteria in your gut and the number may be 100 times the cells in the body. In a recent scientific study, some astonishing facts have been found by the scientists. The bacteria present in the gut can very well decide what you want to eat and what you actually eat.
Scientists from UC San Francisco, Arizona State University and University of New Mexico have found that the microbes have the capacity to influence eating behaviour of humans. They can also influence the dietary choices and thereby increase the possibility of consumption of specific nutrients they need to grow best. Instead of living on the nutrients taken in by the human host, they may decide what the host is going to eat.
Different bacterial species need different nutrients. Some of them need fat and some others may need sugar for better growth. They are present in the digestive tracts of the human. It seems the bacterial species may define our actions according to their own needs. Even though it's not very clear how this happens, by according to the researchers, the diverse community of microorganisms release some signalling molecules into the gut to influence the decision by the human host- you. Altogether the microorganisms present in your gut, are known as gut microbiome. Your gut is a very important part of your whole system as it is connected to the immune system, the nervous system and the endocrine system. That is why the signals transmitted by the bacteria may influence your behavioural and psychological responses.
Bacteria present in the gut are manipulative. Since there are different types of bacteria present in the bacteria microbiome, their interests may be different. The interest of some of the bacteria may be in line with your dietary goals, but some others may have different goals.
The good news is that you can also have influence over the bacteria. It is possible for you to influence the compatibility of the bacteria by changing the foods you eat. If you change your diet, there are measurable changes in the microbiome within 24 hours. Different bacteria need different nutrients. There are some specialised bacteria present in gut. There is a specialised bacteria that can digest seaweed present in the gut and is useful for people who live seaweed, which is a popular diet in Japan.
The gut bacteria work on the vagus nerve to manipulate our eating decisions. This nerve connects hundred million nerve cells present in the digestive tract to the brain. Microorganisms can change the neural signals in the vagus nerve and thereby change behaviour and mood. Change in the signals will result in change of the taste receptors. The neural signals may also result in production of toxins to make you feel bad or release of chemicals to make you feel good.
The researchers think that further research will be needed to find out how microbes can sway our decision. It'll be interesting to see the results of such studies. It will be interesting to know whether transplanting a bacteria that generates nutrients from seaweed in the gut will increase the appetite for seaweed in the host or not.
Further research will also help in understanding the speed with which microorganisms can change the health of individuals. Will it be possible to improve health by changing the microbial population present in the gut? The answer to such questions will need some more time, but it will be really empowering for the researchers and physicians.