09 Sep 2019

Healthy Fat in Dirt May Help Ward Off Depression and Anxiety

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It has long been known that increased exposure to microorganisms could benefit health. The University of Colorado Boulder researchers have identified an anti-inflammatory fat in a soil-dwelling bacterium that may be responsible.

A fatty acid found in the soil based bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae, interacts with immune cells to inhibit pathways that drive inflammation and increases resilience to stress.

The idea is that as humans have moved away from farms and an agricultural or hunter-gatherer existence into cities, we have lost contact with organisms that served to regulate our immune system and suppress inappropriate inflammation.

That has put us at higher risk for inflammatory disease and stress-related psychiatric disorders.

Studies show that children raised in a rural environment, surrounded by animals and bacteria-laden dust, grow up to have more stress-resilient immune systems and may be at lower risk of mental illness than pet-free city dwellers.

Studies suggest exaggerated inflammation boosts risk of trauma- and stressor-related disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Herbal medicines that can support those suffering from depression include St. John’s Wort, Withania, Magnolia, Brahmi and Rosemary.

Anti-inflammatory herbs include Boswelia, Devil’s Claw, Turmeric, Willow Bark and Cat’s Claw.

A combination of herbs to reduce inflammation, stress and depression is available by phoning my office.

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