May 30 2021

Can Wisdom and Loneliness be Influenced by Gut Diversity

Published by at 12:17 pm under Dementia,probiotic supplements

Can wisdom and loneliness be influenced by gut diversity?

Scientists are exploring the biology of wisdom and loneliness and have identified a gut-brain connection.1*

Scientists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine have published a new study that suggests there is a direct connection between wisdom, loneliness, and how diverse a person’s microbiome is. While earlier studies previously identified a connection between biology and wisdom and loneliness, this new study takes it a step further in identifying how it is connected to the gut. 1*

According to Wikipedia, wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.2*

There has been an evolving science that suggests distinct regions of the brain are responsible for the defined traits of wisdom. They also suggest that with greater wisdom comes greater happiness and overall “life satisfaction.” On the flip side, being “less wise” has the outcome of negative consequences. Scientists have also discovered people who are considered wiser are less prone to feeling lonely while those who are lonelier tend to be less wise. “Loneliness may lead to changes in the gut microbiome or, reciprocally, alterations of the gut milieu may predispose an individual to become lonely,” said Dilip V. Jeste, MD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine and senior author of the paper.  1*

In the study, by the UCSD School of Medicine team of researchers, and published in the March 25, 2021 issue of the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, the researchers took these findings a step further reporting that “…wisdom and loneliness appear to influence — and/or be influenced by — microbial diversity of the gut…”1*

The study involved 187 participants who were between the ages of 28 to 97. They self-reported on their measures of loneliness, compassion, wisdom, social engagement, and social support. Their gut microbiota was analyzed via fecal samples. “…Microbial gut diversity was measured in two ways: alpha-diversity, referring to the ecological richness of microbial species within each individual and beta-diversity, referring to the differences in the microbial community composition between individuals…”1*

According to the first author, Tanya T. Nguyen, Ph.D. and assistant profession of psychiatry at UCSD, “We found that lower levels of loneliness and higher levels of wisdom, compassion, social support, and engagement were associated with greater phylogenetic richness and diversity of the gut microbiome.”…”1*

It is not known how the mechanisms link loneliness, compassion, and wisdom with gut microbial diversity, but it was noted that when one is in worse physical and mental health, they generally have reduced microbial diversity which is associated with a wide range of diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and major depressive disorder. 1*

A more diverse gut microbiota provides stability, resilience, and fortification against the invasion of pathogens. It is thought that”… “it is possible that loneliness may result in decreased stability of the gut microbiome and, consequently, reduced resistance and resilience to stress-related disruptions, leading to downstream physiological effects, such as systemic inflammation,”…” according to the authors.1*

“…” Bacterial communities with low alpha diversity may not manifest overt disease, but they may be less than optimal for preventing disease. Thus, lonely people may be more susceptible to developing different diseases,”…” they concluded.1*

In line with prior research, they found that the relationship between loneliness and microbial diversity was more apparent in older adults, and that older adults may be more vulnerable to “…“health-related consequences of loneliness.”…”1*

According to the researchers, wisdom, compassion and strong social support might offer protection against an unstable gut microbiome brought on by loneliness. Diverse and healthy gut microflora may protect against the negative effects of chronic stress and even help shape social behaviors that promote either wisdom or loneliness. While animal studies suggest that gut microbiota may influence social behaviors and interactions, the same hypothesis has not been concluded in humans.1*

This topic is extremely complex and more data is needed to achieve a greater understanding of it overall. According to Dilip V. Jeste, MD, “We need to investigate much more thoroughly to better understand the phenomenon of the gut-brain axis.”1*

It’s imperative to keep the gut healthy by eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and fiber and sticking to a consistent regiment of Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™. By keeping our microbiome diverse and healthy, we protect ourselves against disease, both physical and mental. As researchers continue to explore the fascinating gut-brain connection as an important piece of the giant health puzzle, we will continue to keep you apprised. *

Healthiest wishes,




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