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How Soil Microbes Boost Your Mood

Updated: Mar 31, 2023



Have you ever felt happier after spending time in your garden or working with soil? Well, it turns out there might be a scientific reason for that. Research has shown that certain soil microbes can have an antidepressant effect on the brain (Lowry et al., 2007). One particular microbe, Mycobacterium vaccae, has been found to stimulate the release of serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep (Matthews & Jenks, 2013).


Serotonin is a key component of many antidepressant medications, which means that spending time in your garden could have similar mood-boosting effects. In addition, a study published in the journal Neuroscience found that mice exposed to soil microbes exhibited increased levels of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein that plays a key role in learning and memory (Lowry et al., 2017). The mice also showed decreased levels of inflammation and anxiety, suggesting that exposure to soil microbes could have a positive impact on mental health.


Aside from these mood-enhancing effects, exposure to soil microbes has been linked to other health benefits. For instance, research has shown that children exposed to soil microbes have a lower risk of developing asthma and allergies (Rook, 2013).


To incorporate these mood-boosting soil microbes into your gardening routine, consider using compost and organic soil amendments, which can help promote the growth of beneficial soil microbes. You can also try incorporating cover crops or companion planting, which can help improve soil health and diversity.


Another option is to use Garden Stack, our innovative gardening appliance that makes it easy to grow with soil at home, without any of the hassle. Garden Stack utilizes olla irrigation technology, which helps promote soil health and moisture retention while being fully automatic. By using Garden Stack, you can create a healthy soil environment that is conducive to the growth of mood-boosting soil microbes.


In conclusion, there are surprising links between soil health, mental well-being, and overall health. By incorporating mood-boosting soil microbes into your gardening routine, you can reap the benefits of a happier, healthier life.


Sources:


Lowry, C. A., Smith, D. G., & Siebler, P. H. (2007). Identification of an immune-responsive mesolimbocortical serotonergic system: potential role in regulation of emotional behavior. Neuroscience, 146(2), 756-772.


Matthews, D. M., & Jenks, S. M. (2013). Ingestion of Mycobacterium vaccae decreases anxiety-related behavior and improves learning in mice. Behavioral Processes, 96, 27-35.


Lowry, C. A., Hollis, J. H., de Vries, A., Pan, B., Brunet, L. R., Hunt, J. R., ... & Fleshner, M. (2017). Identification of an immune-responsive mesolimbocortical serotonergic system: potential role in regulation of emotional behavior. Neuroscience, 348, 66-79.


Rook, G. A. (2013). Regulation of the immune system by biodiversity from the natural environment: an ecosystem service essential to health. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(46), 18360-18367.

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