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article imageOp-Ed: Soil Bacteria May Fight Depression

By Bob Ewing     Apr 7, 2009 in Health
Researchers have found evidence that “friendly” bacteria found in soil may activate the immune system, produce the brain compound serotonin, and help ward off depression.
Researchers from Bristol University and University College London have completed a study showing mice treated with the soil agent Mycobacterium vaccae behaved much like mice treated with anti-depressants. The study was published last week in Neuroscience,
A specific part of the mice brain that produces serotonin—the dorsal raphe nucleus, or DRI—had been energized, and was producing serotonin, which helps govern mood.
Popular anti-depressants such as Prozac and Zoloft work by inhibiting the re-uptake of serotonin in the brain: this bacterium appears to work by indirectly increasing the actual amount produced in the brain.
Apparently, Dr. Chris Lowry of Bristol University became interested in the subject after he heard that cancer patients treated with the soil bacterium reported a better quality of life. Lowry speculated that it might be because the bacteria was activating their “serotonergic system,” as the study appears to confirm.
“These studies leave us wondering if we shouldn’t all be spending more time playing in the dirt,” Lowry said.
Another line of thought may go something like this, the food we eat draws the minerals and vitamins we need from the soil. either directly, vegetables or indirectly, meat.
In other words, the meat and vegetables that humans consume are merely tasty transport agents for the nutrients and micro-nutrients that abound in healthy soil.
Any organic gardener knows a gardener grows soil and when that job is properly done whatever plants the gardener choose to grow in that soil have a very good chance of thriving.
It is heartening to see science catch up with we gardeners.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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