Loneliness and Wisdom Can Influence Gut Health, New Study Finds

Health News: The new Frontiers in Psychiatry study found that wisdom and loneliness appear to influence — and/or be influenced by — microbial diversity of the gut.

Scientists have taken the connection between wisdom, loneliness, and biology one step further. They say that wisdom’s defined traits correspond to distinct regions of the brain. So wiser the person, greater happiness and life satisfaction while being less wise results in the opposite, negative consequences.

Researches involved 187 participants, ages 28 to 97, who completed validated self-report-based measures of loneliness, wisdom, compassion, social support, and social engagement.

The team collected the fecal samples of the participants analyzed their microbial gut diversity in two ways. One is alpha-diversity, referring to the ecological richness of microbial species within each individual, and the other is beta-diversity, referring to the differences in the microbial community composition between individuals.

The study results confirmed a link between wisdom, loneliness, and the gut. Lower levels of loneliness and higher levels of wisdom, compassion, social support, and engagement were linked with greater phylogenetic richness and diversity of the gut microbiome.

According to researchers, reduced microbial diversity is a sign of worse physical and mental health, and is associated with a variety of diseases, including obesity, bowel diseases, and depression. People with more diverse gut microbiota may be less prone to attack by outside pathogens, which could contribute to and help promote better resilience and stability of the community.

Authors of the study wrote that loneliness may result in decreased gut microbiome stability and, consequently, reduced resistance and resilience to stress-related disruptions, leading to downstream physiological effects, such as systemic inflammation.

To Know More, You May Refer To

Tanya T. Nguyen, Xinlian Zhang, Tsung-Chin Wu, Jinyuan Liu, Collin Le, Xin M. Tu, Rob Knight, Dilip V. Jeste. Association of Loneliness and Wisdom With Gut Microbial Diversity and Composition: An Exploratory Study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2021; 12 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.648475

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