Hard to digest: Stress might be just as unhealthy as junk food to women

ab20cac4-950c-4a6f-a3e5-0338c6bca249articleimage.jpg

18 Oct 2017 --- A new study at Brigham Young University (BYU) in the US has found that stress may be just as harmful to female bodies as a bad diet. The study with mice shows that in females, stress causes digestive microorganisms to behave similarly to how they act with a high-fat diet.

In the new paper published in Nature Scientific Reports, BYU professor of microbiology and molecular biology Laura Bridgewater found that when female mice were exposed to stress, their gut microbiota – the microorganisms vital to digestive and metabolic health – changed to look like the mice had been eating a high-fat diet.

“Stress can be harmful in a lot of ways, but this research is novel in that it ties stress to female-specific changes in the gut microbiota,” Bridgewater says. “We sometimes think of stress as a purely psychological phenomenon, but it causes distinct physical changes.”

Exposure to stress causes changes in females
Bridgewater and her collaborators at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China took a large group of eight-week-old mice and exposed half of the males and half of the females to a high-fat diet. After 16 weeks, all of the mice were exposed to mild stress over the course of 18 days.

Researchers then extracted microbial DNA from the mice fecal pellets before and after the stress to test how the gut microbiota was affected. They also measured mouse anxiety based on how much and where the mice traveled in an open field arena.

The researchers found fascinating differences between genders: male mice on the high-fat diet exhibited more anxiety than females on the high-fat diet, and high-fat males also showed decreased activity in response to stress. However, it was only in female mice that stress caused the gut microbiota composition to shift as if the animals were on a high-fat diet.

While the study was only carried out on animals, researchers believe there are could be significant implications for humans.

“In society, women tend to have higher rates of depression and anxiety, which are linked to stress,” says Bridgewater, who also serves as Associate Dean of the BYU College of Life Sciences. “This study suggests that a possible source of the gender discrepancy may be the different ways gut microbiota responds to stress in males versus females.”

Elsewhere in recent gut health news, it has been discovered that the “ridiculously healthy” elderly have the same gut microbiome as healthy 30-year-olds, while scientists are a step closer to identifying a mechanism to explain how gut bacteria increase blood pressure.

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

Baobab resurgence? Things are looking up for the “upside down” tree

14 Aug 2018 --- The baobab superfruit has been enjoying an NPD resurgence, boosted by renewed interest in the digestive health and low GI space, as well its strong potential for use in the sports nutrition market. The superfood – which is touted as offering low GI appeal, a high dietary fiber content and for being rich in vitamin C – has seen annual growth of 53 percent, according to Innova Market Insights data. Speaking to NutritionInsight, Henry Johnson, baobab specialist at EcoProducts, details the growing array of applications for the superfood, as well as the economic ripening of the environment for market growth for baobab.

Health & Nutrition News

Microbe colonization study could inspire better probiotics, claim researchers

13 Aug 2018 --- A novel approach to identify the genes that may be important to help microbes live successfully in the human gut has been identified by a study published in PLOS Computational Biology. The approach utilizes a technique called phylogenetic linear modeling, which has often been used in ecology, but rarely in genomics. The researchers hope that the findings could be important for the development of new therapies to maintain or improve gut health, such as the design of better probiotics.

Health & Nutrition News

UK women of childbearing age falling short on key micronutrient requirements, survey finds

13 Aug 2018 --- The micronutrient intake of women in their childbearing years, as well as young people in general, fall short in key micronutrients such as magnesium and selenium. UK researchers note that improvements in dietary quality are needed in young adulthood and mid-life. Alongside this, fortification and supplementation strategies may be considered to help adults achieve dietary targets at this life-stage when they should be at their “nutritional prime.”

Business News

Evolva net loss narrows, on track to deliver on set targets

10 Aug 2018 --- Swiss-headquartered biotechnology and fermentation ingredient supplier Evolva has reported that product sales doubled, reaching CHF1.8 million (US$1.8 million) in the first half of 2018. Total revenues reached CHF3.8 million in the first half of 2018, up 6% on last year, while their net loss narrowed to CHF14.7 million (first half 2017 loss CHF20.3 million).

Health & Nutrition News

“A diverse diet may not be the healthiest one,” finds AHA review

09 Aug 2018 --- Encouraging people to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure they meet all their dietary needs may backfire, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) that provides an overview of recent scientific studies.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/hard-to-digest-stress-might-be-just-as-unhealthy-as-junk-food-to-women.html