The immune system can respond to the balance of intestinal bacteria. Researchers find that stress is the main factor in the upset of that internal sense of balance.
According to scientists from Ohio State University “Stress changes the composition, diversity and number of intestinal bacteria… The communities of bacteria become less varied, and there are greater numbers of potentially harmful bacteria.”
A news release from the publishing journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity quotes lead researcher Michael Bailey, “When we reduced the number of bacteria in the intestines using antibiotics, we found that some of the effects of stress on the immune system were prevented. This suggests that not only does stress change the bacteria levels in the gut, but that these alterations can, in turn, impact our immunity.”
The researchers go on, “Previous research has linked intestinal bacteria to conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and asthma. Future studies need to determine whether changes in intestinal bacteria may explain why these conditions tend to become worse when people are under stress.” Source: HealthFinder.gov