Gut-brain, Stress

Can We Trust Mouse Studies?

The gut-brain connection continues to reveal surprising associations between gut bacteria and psychology. Bacteria that can improve your mood are called psychobiotics, and they are already being used to help people with depression and anxiety as a replacement or adjunct to psychoactive drugs. But many of these studies were first done with mice. Are they really a good model?

Originally, the research that led to our current understanding of psychobiotics was done in germ-free mice. If you want to know what gut microbes do, it makes sense to compare an animal with microbes to one without. Rodents have guts similar to ours and are surprisingly good proxies for microbial research. A popular choice is a germ-free mouse or rat, born by antiseptic C-section and raised in a sterile environment. They are the darlings of the lab and take up little space, breed quickly and are relatively easy to care for. That’s why, for the last decade, much of the research on psychobiotics has been done with germ-free mice.

It turns out that these mouse studies are quite relevant to humans and show that prebiotics, probiotics and diet have a major impact on health, both bodily and mentally. Simply eating more high-fiber veggies and fermented food can build a more resilient microbiota. But if you can’t get enough of these foods in your diet, you might find some relief from a prebiotic supplement like Clarity Prebiotic Blend.

For more on this topic, click here.

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