Sunday April 5, 2020

Microbes May Be Stirring Up Anxiety And Depression In Obese People

To test the theory, Kahn and colleagues fed mice a high-fat diet and studied their behavior as the animals became obese

0
//
Microbes May Be Stirring Up Anxiety And Depression In Obese People
Microbes May Be Stirring Up Anxiety And Depression In Obese People, Pixabay

Microbes may be helping stir up anxiety and depression in obese people, if results from a new mouse study hold true in humans.

The authors link the effects to how the brain responds to insulin, the hormone that regulates sugar levels in the blood.

The research raises questions about whether changing gut microbes, or changing diet, could help treat these conditions.

Mood, microbes and metabolism

Obesity triggers changes in metabolism — for example, making liver, muscle, fat and other tissues less responsive to insulin. Left untreated, these changes can lead to diabetes.

Obese people also have higher rates of anxiety and depression.

“One could say, ‘Maybe that’s just because they’re obese,’ ” said Harvard Medical School diabetes researcher Ronald Kahn, “but others could say, ‘Maybe there’s a metabolic link.’ ”

“And we asked the question, ‘Maybe the metabolic link is at least partly fueled by the microbiome,’ ” the community of microbes living in a person’s gut, he added.

Those microbes change with diet, and Kahn said different microbes might respond differently to the foods we eat.

To test the theory, Kahn and colleagues fed mice a high-fat diet and studied their behavior as the animals became obese.

They used common tests to gauge anxious and depressed behavior in rodents — for example, how much time the animals spent hiding in a dark box versus exploring a brightly lit area. The more anxious the mouse, the less time it will spend in the light.

Obese mice spent about 25 percent less time in the light than animals on a normal diet, and they scored higher on the other anxiety and depression tests, too.

obesity
obesity, Pixabay

Return to normal

But those differences disappeared when obese mice were given antibiotics, even though their weight didn’t change much.

“That really says there’s probably something about the microbiome,” Kahn said.

The researchers then tested how the animals’ microbiomes affected mice raised in a sterile environment with no microbes of their own.

Bacteria from obese rodents made these germ-free mice more anxious than microbes from normal mice.

But when germ-free mice got microbes from obese animals that had been given antibiotics, they behaved like normal mice.

To see what parts of the brain might be responsible for the effects, the researchers focused on two regions involved in metabolism and responses to rewards. They found these regions were less responsive to insulin in the obese mice compared with normal-weight animals.

Again, antibiotics returned those responses to normal.

The research appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

“It was actually quite a surprise,” Kahn said. “Even though we had seen some effects on metabolism in the rest of the body, I was very surprised how dramatic and how clear the effects were also on the brain and on behavior.”

Into the unknown

That doesn’t mean antibiotics are the cure for depression, Kahn warned. The drugs kill good and bad microbes indiscriminately, and taking the medication unnecessarily can contribute to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance.

Also, what happens in mice does not necessarily happen in humans, he added, or it may happen for only some people. So far, there is not much evidence that probiotics help anxious people.

scale
scale, Pixabay

“The difficulty is, both of these things — depression and obesity — are complicated things that have multiple, multiple factors influencing them,” said mental health researcher Gregory Simon at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, who was not part of the study.

Microbes are likely just one factor, along with environment, genetics, social influences and more, Simon added.

But Kahn said his group’s research raised interesting questions about how food affects our behavior.

“I think now we can get some idea that there are a lot of things that are being metabolized by gut bacteria that could affect brain function,” he said.

And he said there might be ways to change brain function by changing those bacteria, by eating helpful microbes or by eating foods that sustain them.

Also read: Two New Ways To Prevent Cholera: Microbes Fighting Microbes

He and his colleagues are working to figure out exactly which of the hundreds of species of gut bacteria are responsible. At the moment, it’s a mystery. (VOA)

Next Story

Benefits of Practising Yoga Everyday

Yoga to combat lockdown blues

0
Yoga
Here are some common ways yoga can be used to effectively improve wellbeing at this time. Pixabay

The recent lockdown may prove daunting on our physiological and psychological well-being, due to lack of social mingling, outdoor and office routine.

This is when the ancient-old wisdom of Yoga comes to rescue. Yoga and lifestyle coach Grand Master Akshar suggests some common ways yoga can be used to effectively improve wellbeing at this time.

Enhance blood circulation with yoga

Surya Namaskar

As a salutation to Lord Sun, Surya Namaskar always starts with the right side. This is because the Surya Nadi or the Sun channel runs along the right side, so you begin the Surya Namaskar with your right leg. The Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is best practiced early in the morning before sunrise. This will bless you with physical and mental strength, give you command over your body, calm your mind, balance your energies, and bring peace to your consciousness. Surya Namaskar is a powerful technique to make you more mindful. With regular practise, each and every task that you take up will be done consciously and with great care.

Please follow NewsGram on Facebook to get updates on the latest news

Surya Namaskar – 12 Steps make half the cycle

Yoga
Yoga can be practiced anywhere and at any time. Pixabay

1. Pranam asana (The Prayer pose)
2. Hastha Utanasana (Raised arm pose)
3. Padahastasana (Standing forward bend)
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
5. Santholanasana (Plank Pose)
6. Ashtanga Namaskar Asana (Eight limbed salutation)
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog pose)
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
10.Padahastasana (Standing forward bend)
11. Hastha Utanasana
12. Pranam asana

Repeat the 12 steps with the Left leg moving in and out second to make 1 complete cycle. Total cycle is made of 24 counts.

How yoga and meditation is beneficial to increase immunity

The practice of Yoga asanas, and meditation provides natural support the immune system. By lowering stress hormones in your body, yoga rescues the immune system from compromise. Apart from this, Yoga conditions the lungs and respiratory tract, stimulates the lymphatic system removing toxins from the body, and ensures the optimal functioning of your organs. Here are a few asanas that can improve your immune system- Paschimottanasana, Halasana, Dhanurasana, Chakrasana, and Padmasana.

The rule of social distancing which has been enforced is also a great opportunity to build your mental strength. Through the practices of Pranayama and Meditation, you can increase your mental and spiritual strength. Practice Anulom Vilom, Kapal Bhati, Khand, and Brahmari pranayama. Include dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, cereals and daily exposure to sunlight before 10AM for your quota of Vitamin D.

How to handle depression and anxiety?

Through social distancing, we are spending more time with our families, and also have time for ourselves. With a pause on our lives, we now have to readjust, refocus and reinvent our schedules. Keep yourself occupied with productive activities, and involve your family too. Practice Surya Namaskar, yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation techniques. Be as helpful as you can at home lending a hand wherever possible with chores. Keep an open mind, be a good listener, practice kindness, and understanding with those who are with you, or around you. Indulge in collective activities with your family members such as playing board games, singing, listening to music, talking, sharing your thoughts etc. Do not overdo news consumption, as this causes paranoia and unnecessary panic. Try to maintain a calm and balanced outlook as you look forward with optimism.

Please follow NewsGram on Twitter to get updates on the latest news

Mental wellness

Now is the time when you can go deep in your meditation, and in your pranayama practice. Here is a technique that will help you build on your mental health, and resilience. Health is everything, and this time can be used to work on building your mental, and physical health.

Yoga
Yoga and meditation is beneficial to increase immunity. Pixabay

Aakaash Ganga Dhyan: (Galaxy Meditation)

Aakash Gange Dhyan is a type of meditation or visualization where you are required to imagine yourself to be an earthen pot. As you meditate, picture yourself to be a container that is allowing the entire universe to flow into you. Accept these energies as feel them flowing into you.

Benefits:

  • Makes you one with nature/existence
  • Get the power of the galaxy
  • Mind becomes strong
  • Builds memory power
  • Build focus
  • Enhances concentration

Brahmari Pranayama

Method

  • Sit in any comfortable pose (such as Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana)
  • Straighten your back and close your eyes
  • Place your palms on your knees facing up (in Prapthi Mudra)
  • Place your thumbs on the ‘Tragus’, the external flap outside on your ear.
  • Place your index finger on your forehead; your middle finger on the Medial Canthus and ring finger on the corner of your nostril
  • Inhale and fill your lungs with air
  • As you exhale, slowly make a buzzing sound like that of a bee, i.e., “mmmmmmm�.”
  • Keep your mouth closed the entire time and feel the vibration of the sound disseminate throughout your body

    Duration: you may begin by practicing this breathing technique for five minutes a day and gradually increase it with time.

    Benefits

  • Calms the mind and rejuvenates the body
  • Increases sensitivity to tastes and fragrances
  • Relieves stress and anxiety
  • Makes the voice pleasant and melodious and strengthens the vocal cords
  • Treats throat uneasiness
  • Balances blood pressure
  • Improves concentration

What precautions should be taken in this critical situation, along with social isolation and distancing?

Diet: Along with your yoga, and meditation practice you can modify your diet to add healthier, and natural foods. Work on your immune system by consuming fruits and vegetables that provide you with Vitamin C. Choose fruits such as orange, kiwi, lemon, guava, grapefruit, and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and capsicums for your dose of Vitamin C.

Include dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals for your quota of Vitamin D. Brown rice, millets dark leafy vegetables are a great source for Vitamin B. Sunlight is also extremely beneficial for you, try to wake up early and get your daily dose of the morning sun to soak up all those numerous health benefits.

Control your news consumption

Avoid going overboard on how often you check the news updates. While it is useful to have awareness, and be in the know, frequent news watching, sharing forwards relating to the pandemic, watching videos, reading social media opinions could cause an imbalance in your emotional state.

Mindfulness tips to cope up with Coronavirus Panic

Pause and celebrate all the positive changes that have already occurred on an unprecedented scale. Calamitous events such as natural disasters and accidents work as a trigger to cause unexpected positive events. They turn our attention toward the things that really matter, but which we usually take for granted. Through social distancing, we are spending more time with our families. The collective process of sharing and caring for each other is what helps us as humans to adapt, survive and thrive despite all odds. The Coronavirus has slowed down life for us, giving us all the much-needed pause. Let our thoughts and prayers go to those who are kept away from their loved ones now.

Easy ways to stay active at work from home during Corona

Regulate your sleeping hours and avoid oversleeping and overeating. Start your day early and put in at least 1 or 2 hours of practice every morning. Surya Namaskar, Chandra Namaskar, and other flows can be done for as many cycles as per your capability. Do not spend long hours sitting in front of the television. Move your body with light stretches once every 2-3 hours, drink plenty of water and follow a disciplined routine.

Yoga
The practice of Yoga asanas, and meditation provides natural support the immune system. Pixabay

How to exercise at home if you don’t have a home gym

Yoga can be practiced anywhere and at any time. Because Yoga does not need any equipment such as weights, or machines etc., it is an ideal choice for those who do not prefer working out at a gym. When you begin the day with Yoga, it keeps you active and energetic.

Please follow NewsGram on Instagram to get updates on the latest news

Santolanasana

Formation of the posture

  • Lie on your stomach
  • Place your palms under your shoulders and lift your upper body, pelvis and knees up
  • Grip the floor with toes and keep the knees straight
  • Ensure that your knees, pelvis and spine are aligned
  • Your wrists must be exactly below your shoulders with your arms straight
  • Hold the final posture for a while

Vasishtasana

Formation of the posture

  • Begin with Santholanasan (Plank)
  • With your left palm firmly on the ground, remove your right hand off the floor
  • Turn your entire body to face the right side and lift your right leg off the floor and place
  • it over your left leg
  • Raise your right arm above and keep your fingers pointing to the sky
  • Ensure that both your knees, heels and feet are in contact with each other
  • Ensure that both arms and shoulders are in one straight line
  • Turn your head and look up at your right hand
  • Hold the asana for a while
  • Repeat the same on the left side

Naukasana

Also Read- Ways to Prevent Coronavirus to Enter Your Homes

Formation of the Posture

  • Lie down on your back.
  • Bring your upper body 45� off the floor.
  • Pivot your body weight on your hips and lift your legs 45� off the floor.
  • Your toes must be aligned with your eyes
  • Try to prevent a bend in the knees.
  • Keep your arms parallel to the ground and pointing forward.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles.
  • Straighten your back. (IANS)