May 24 2015

What do Dogs and Probiotics Have in Common?

Published by at 1:11 pm under probiotic supplements

What do Dogs and Probiotics Have in Common?
Researchers Believe the Microbiota Shared Between Dogs and Aging Adults May Offer, both, Physical and Mental Health Benefits.

Dogs are enough just to love and cuddle, but what if they represent much more than that.  Imagine the possibility of healing benefits from these precious pets.  Well, researchers at the University of Arizona along with other universities, including UC San Diego, are preparing a new study to explore whether or not living with a dog encourages the growth of positive microorganisms or friendly bacteria in the human microbiome. And, whether it has an effect big enough to improve both mental and physical well-being in aging adults?  The bases for the study is that dogs share much of the same microbiota as their owners, and this may enhance the health and boost the numbers of friendly bacteria living in our gut. Especially as we age, these bacteria play an essential role in both our mental and physical health, and therefore, they are focusing their study on people aged 50 and older. 1,2   *

 According to Kim Kelly, principal research specialist in the Department of Psychiatry and program coordinator for the Human-Animal Interaction Research Initiative at the University of Arizona, “We’ve co-evolved with dogs over the millennia, but nobody really understands what it is about this dog-human relationship that makes us feel good about being around dogs. Is it just that they’re fuzzy and we like to pet them, or is there something else going on under the skin? The question really is: has the relationship between dogs and humans gotten under the skin? And we believe it has…”1 Rob Knight, an internationally known expert on the human microbiome, is leading UC San Diego’s part of the study. 3  *

 The premise is that we, as humans have evolved with bacteria and have developed a symbiotic relationship with them, as they live in our gut, our environment and on our skin. According to Professor Raison, professor of psychiatry in the college of medicine suggests “…There’s epidemiological work showing that kids raised with dogs don’t tend to get allergies and asthma. So we think that dogs have anti-inflammatory effects, based on effects in kids, and increasingly we think now that maybe it’s because of sharing the microbiota. There are data that families that have dogs share as much of their microbiota with the dogs as they do with each other…” 2 *

 “…Existing research shows that dogs and their owners share much of the same gut bacteria over time. In addition, some studies have shown that dogs enhance immune functioning in children, reducing the risk for immune disorders, such as asthma and allergies…”1 *

 The study will be conducted in conjunction with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and will pair participants with a canine companion from the humane society. The dog will live with the participant in their home for three months.

 “…At the beginning of the study, researchers will non-invasively evaluate the human participants’ gut bacteria, diet, physical activity levels, and immune function. The dogs’ gut bacteria and physical activity levels also will be measured via non-invasive means…” 1

 “…Follow-up evaluations will take place after one, two, and three months to look for any positive impacts on gut microflora in either the humans or the dogs. Researchers also will note any changes in the mental health and emotional well-being in both the humans and the animals…” 1

 Study participants will be 50 years or older, in good general health, not have taken antibiotics in the past six months, and not have lived with a dog for at least six months.

 This study relates back to our conversation about over sanitizing one’s environment.  Being exposed to natural allergens, dirt, pets and other environmental bacteria help our immune system to do its natural job of building immunities. When we deplete our environment of these vital organisms, in an effort to be “clean,” we deprive our bodies of natural exposure and ultimately the ability to naturally heal itself.

 “…One of the paradoxes of modern times is that despite the era’s unprecedented cleanliness, allergies and inflammatory diseases have increased….” 2

 So next time your dog gives you a big slobbery kiss, as gross as that may be, just know it might not be the worst thing that could happen. Your pup is sharing his microbiota with you. We will keep an eye on this study and let you know the results once they are released.

 Whether you have a dog or not, this study confirms the importance of maintaining a healthy microbiome by ensuring you are consuming healthy bacteria, as in the form of Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ and not over sterilizing your natural environment.


Have a great week and healthiest wishes,

Kelli de Sante`





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