Happy gut, happy life!
9 January 2021
3 min read
Your stomach has a bigger influence on your happiness than you think
Ever experienced the feeling of butterflies in your stomach or a fear that made you nauseous and gave you stomach problems? These are only two of many examples of emotions that we have attributed in terms of 'gut feelings' (another nice one). The reason for this is that there is a strong interconnection between the gut and the brain.
Long story short, the gut and the brain are connected through millions of neurons, neuro- and other chemicals . Neurons and neurotransmitters send signals and chemicals in both ways, and the gut also produces chemicals that affect the brain. A couple of interesting examples that show this are:
- Studies have found that certain probiotics fed to mice can reduce stress, anxiety and depression-like behavior [2, 3]
- Even more interestingly, one of these two studies also showed that if the nerves between the gut and the brain were cut, this effect was gone 
- The mere thought of food already releases juices in the stomach to process food before it is even there 
- A large portion of one of our favorite neurotransmitters, serotonin (that is linked to happiness), is produced in the gut 
Now that we know how important the gut health is for the mental health, we have good news for those of you that eat insects. Edible insects are usally praised because they're high in protein and rich in many vitamins, but recent research has found that's not the end of it.
Insects contain fibres, particularly chitin, that are different from fibres found in many other foods such as fruits, veggies and grains . In the study, twenty participants went through three two-week stages: eating their own breakfast, having a controlled breakfast, and having a controlled breakfast with 25 grams of cricket flour.
Results showed that during the two weeks of breakfast with cricket flour, there was an increase in the amount of five bacteria that support gut health . One of those bacteria has previously been shown to improve digestive functioning, protect against diarrhea, reduce side effects of antibiotic treatment, and increase resistance to common respiratory infections such as the cold and the flu .
Simply put this small research has shown early signs of cricket flour having a positive effect on your gut health. So do you not only want to grow more muscles, replenish all of your vitamins but also reduce your stress? Of course you do, so eat insects.
- Ruairi Robertson (August 20, 2020). The Gut-Brain Connection: How it Works and The Role of Nutrition. Healthline. Accesed January 3rd, 2021 at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gut-brain-connection
- Janik, R., Thomason, L. A., Stanisz, et al. (2016). Magnetic resonance spectroscopy reveals oral Lactobacillus promotion of increases in brain GABA, N-acetyl aspartate and glutamate. Neuroimage, 125, 988-995.
- Bravo, J. A., Forsythe, P., et al. (2011). Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,108 (38), 16050-16055.
- Michelle Starr (August 6, 2018). Eating Crickets Does Something Really Good to Your Gut Bacteria, Study Finds. Accessed January 6th, 2021 at https://www.sciencealert.com/eating-crickets-good-for-gastrointestinal-health-microbiome-inflammation-double-blind-randomised
- Stull, V. J., Finer, E., Bergmans, et al. (2018). Impact of edible cricket consumption on gut microbiota in healthy adults, a double-blind, randomized crossover trial. Scientific reports, 8 (1), 1-13.
- Jungersen, M., Wind, A., et al. (2014). The Science behind the Probiotic Strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12®. Microorganisms, 2 (2), 92-110.
- Harvard Health Publishing (March, 2012). The gut-brain connection. Accessed January 6th, 2021 at https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection
- Yano, J. M., Yu, K., et al. (2015). Indigenous bacteria from the gut microbiota regulate host serotonin biosynthesis. Cell, 161 (2), 264-276.